HCM Issue 4 2024

Page 14

FITNESS, HEALTH, WELLNESS GLOBAL MEDIA PARTNER ISSUE 4 2024 @ HCMmag HCMmag.com Deloitte report European industry beats A fresh new format for 2024 Elevate preview Life Lessons “I thought, ‘if I’m going down, I’m going to burn all the way’” p74 Steve Schwartz Snap Fitness needed a new management team p38 Ty Menzies POWERING THE FUTURE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY REGISTER FREE >>> SEE PREVIEW

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ICardio crisis

Consumers’ growing love of strength training is to be welcomed for all the amazing benefits it brings to health and longevity, however, it’s vital we continue to make the case for cardio

t’s exciting to see the rise and rise of strength training – particularly among women, many of whom have traditionally avoided resistance training, very much to their detriment.

The volumes of research being published bear out the power of strength training to extend healthspan and bring all sorts of benefits, from falls prevention in older age to increased bone density and a reduction in injuries.

Everywhere you look, operators are reconfiguring the gym floor to add more resistance training options.

This strength trend is partly being driven by social media influencers who find it more straightforward to ‘pose and post’ to their feeds from strength equipment than from cardio – it’s easier to sit on a bench and connect with your followers than to do it from a treadmill, for example.

It’s fascinating that a factor as basic as this is helping drive demand, but that’s the power of social media.

However, in our headlong rush to embrace the strength trend, are we losing sight of our role in delivering on the optimum exercise equation?

Our duty of care to our s is to give them ‘best advice’ and ensure they have access to expertise and specialist equipment and yet the current trend towards strength training at the expense of other forms of exercise is seeing that contract breaking down.

Cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular fitness are vital to health and if we go along with the strength trend unquestioningly without making a case to our members for a balanced workout, we’re doing them a disservice. When it comes to exercise, the ideal mix includes strength, cardio, flexibility/mobility and skill and if any of these elements gets overlooked, the outcomes will be less than optimal and – worse – injury may occur. Our job as experts in exercise has always been to guide our members to achieve the best balance in their workouts, but the increasing dearth of staff on the gym floor and the high cost of personal training has created a vacuum into which social media influencers have stepped and in many cases you could argue

Operators need to influence members’ workouts to ensure they’re balanced and to champion cardio as a vital part of the mix

that consumers’ loyalty and respect lies more with them now than with our own industry experts. No wonder we lose half our customers every year.

We believe operators need to influence members’ workouts to ensure they’re balanced and safe and to champion cardio as a vital part of the mix.

If you need convincing, our research report in this issue (page 108) has found that cardiorespiratory fitness is the most important type of fitness for good health and that it reduces premature death and incidents of disease by a significant margin.

Liz Terry, editor lizterry@leisuremedia.com
5 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024 EDITOR’S LETTER
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Uniting the world of fitness

05 Editor’s letter

We’re having a cardio crisis says Liz Terry, and it’s time for the industry to take charge

14 HCM people

Belinda Steward

The MD of leisure, health and wellbeing at Places Leisure talks about the opportunities she sees in a post-COVID world

18 HCM people

Jen Holland

The new CEO of Edinburgh Leisure talks about plans to build active and thriving communities against a backdrop of council funding shortfalls

62 The health and fitness sectors are coming together

24 HCM people

Ross Campbell

The CEO of BeyondActiv explains plans for the global expansion of the company’s fitness industry events

30 HCM news

Basic-Fit considers Holmes Place sale, Fitness Hut gets new backers and key industry leaders headline at the HCM Summit in London on 24 October

38 Interview Ty Menzies

Snap Fitness is seeking a new investor to help achieve its goal of 35 per cent growth by 2028. We talk to the CEO of Lift Brands, to find out more

50 Everyone’s talking about Indoor cycling

With a rumours of a downturn in indoor cycling in some parts of the sector, we get expert viewpoints from operators and suppliers in this space

58 Clear trading

The European fitness sector is beating pre-pandemic numbers and getting back on track, according to the latest market report by Deloitte and EuropeActive

62 Healthy partnership

What really needs to happen for the physical activity sector to effectively integrate with healthcare? Leaders in the field share their thoughts

8 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 ISSUE 4 2024 N o 325

74 Life Lessons

Steve Schwartz

The CEO of Midtown Athletics Club talks about how the timings of a major funding round and COVID threatened the existence of his family-founded company

80 Boomtime for Pilates

As Pilates moves into the mainstream, we ask suppliers how they’re responding to the increasing demand for kit and training

88 Show preview Get elevated

The Elevate trade show and conference will be held at London’s Excel centre in June, with a fresh look for 2024. HCM takes a look

104 Product innovations

Steph Eaves rounds up the latest health, fitness and wellness kit from leading suppliers

106 Reader services HCM Directory

If you’re in procurement, the HCM Directory is part of a network of resources designed for you that includes www.HCMmag.com/CompanyProfiles

108 Research

Keep up the cardio Research from the University of South Australia has found cardiorespiratory fitness is the most important for good health

9 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024
14 Belinda Steward 74 Steve Schwartz shares his life lessons 58 Deloitte reports on the European market 38 Ty Menzies 80 Boomtime for Pilates




Editor Liz Terry

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Managing editor

Steph Eaves

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Magali Robathan

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Publisher Jan Williams

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Head of news

Kath Hudson

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Email us:

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Copyright details: HCM (Health Club Management) is published 12 times a year by Leisure Media, PO Box 424, Hitchin, SG5 9GF, UK. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the publisher. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recorded or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright holder, Cybertrek Ltd 2024. Print and distribution Printed by The Manson Group Ltd. Distributed by Royal Mail Group Ltd and Whistl Ltd in the UK and Total Mail Ltd globally. ©Cybertrek Ltd 2024 ISSN 1361-3510 (print) / 2397-2351 (online)

10 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
Issue 4 2024 Volume 30 Number 325
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HCM people

We need to make it automatic that when people go to their doctor, they’re offered exercise rather than medication where appropriate
Belinda Steward

MD of leisure, health and wellbeing, Places Leisure

Having just stepped into your new job, what appealed to you about it?

It’s a privilege to have this role and be part of the solution when it comes to making physical activity accessible to everyone.

The stats really motivate me. Physical inactivity is the fourth largest killer in the UK, which is shocking, but our industry is able to do something about it.

You've held leadership roles in hospitality, how will you deploy the skills and experience you gained?

I have a good understanding of how to operationalise and optimise businesses, so I’ll be looking for ways to add value for our customers.

Part of this will be ensuring we have a consistent brand across all our facilities, as the more consistent you are, the more your customers know what to expect and it makes it easier for customers and colleagues to transfer between facilities.

Cross-industry partnership is also key, so I’ll be looking to form collaborations with others in the industry and industry bodies to broaden accessibility.

During COVID I was fortunate to be on the CEO board for accommodation providers working in

HCM PEOPLE 14 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
Steward has an extensive background in hospitality

Our sector tackles physical inactivity – the fourth biggest killer in the UK

Physical inactivity is the fourth largest killer in the UK, but our industry can do something about it

UK hospitality and we were pivotal in lobbying the government to get hospitality venues opened early. It was a really interesting insight into how collaboration with people you sometimes see as your competitors can work to the benefit of the community at large.

I'll also be looking at how we can use technology to make the experience easier for our customers, so the time our colleagues spend with them adds value, rather than them being caught up with functional tasks.

The customer journey is another area for review. I'll be making sure our facilities are accessible and where we don't have buildings, looking at how we can take our services into communities.

What are Places Leisure's main challenges as you step into your role?

The same as everybody in terms of dealing with increased costs – particularly in utilities.

We’ve chosen to be a Real Living Wage provider, which we believe is the right thing to do.

It resonated with our teams in a recent colleague survey which reflected that we’re a great place to work. We also have good retention rates among our people and loyal staff help create loyal customers.

What are the main opportunities?

I'm really encouraged by the uplift in demand for physical activity we're experiencing. It's great to see this has become so popular in a post-COVID world.

In contrast, pubs haven’t regained the momentum they had before the pandemic and are still faced with the headwinds of costs.

There are opportunities for innovation – for example, we're looking to open some padel courts,

15 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024
A recent survey showed the company is a great place to work

as it’s a fantastic sport that brings in a whole new group of people. And there are opportunities to take our offering out into our communities.

Our sector has the chance and the responsibility, to help the NHS. We need to make it automatic that when people go to their doctor, they’re offered exercise rather than medication where appropriate. Industry collaboration will make it easier to work in partnership with the NHS and data is the key to demonstrating the value we offer.

What new challenges lie ahead?

We've just taken on the management of 10 leisure centres for Northumberland County Council, which gives us a bigger geographic reach and we're also

Graves Health and Sports Centre is taking park in a diabetes and peripheral neuropathy study

Places Leisure will be providing Level 4 endocrinetrained fitness professionals

looking for more opportunities to take our offering out into our communities. It should never be the case that people don't have access to physical activity and I think it's my responsibility to make sure we get out there and give people the chance to enjoy it.

Are you working on any special programmes?

Graves Health and Sports Centre is taking part in a groundbreaking diabetes and peripheral neuropathy study run by Sheffield Teaching Hospital Community Wellness Services and the NHS Foundation Trust. This is the first trial of a physical activity intervention and participants will receive one-to-one sessions from a Level 4 endocrine-trained fitness professional. It’s the first study of its kind to be conducted within a leisure centre.

We’ve also teamed up with British Blind Sport to support the ‘See Sport Differently’ campaign, which aims to tackle activity barriers for the two million people in the UK living with sight loss.

We’re looking at ways to make our centres more accessible and have already delivered 10 workshops on this to 111 staff so they have the necessary skills to welcome and support these customers. l


Edinburgh Council will have a £143m budget shortfall by 2028/29 and so must find ways to become more efficient

18 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
New CEO Jen Holland is also a qualifi ed accountant

What appealed to you about the new role?

Having recently worked in the health and social care sector, I wholeheartedly believe in the critical role physical activity can play in improving health and wellbeing outcomes. Going forward, I see the sector as a critical partner in delivering improved outcomes in terms of the health needs of our population. If we moved the whole system around to thinking about prevention and early intervention, we could have a huge impact on social care and health demand. I’d love to bring that change about. It starts at a young age and requires us to remove the barriers to sport and physical activity, as well as building communities.

I strongly believe in the positive impact sport and physical activity can have for everyone and I’m passionate about creating opportunities for everyone to get and stay active.

What’s your background?

I’m a qualified accountant and from 2019 was the director of strategic commissioning and partnerships at Scottish Borders Council. Previous to that, I worked with various public sector and charity organisations, including Fife Cultural Trust, NHS Fife and Live Borders.

What are the main challenges?

The biggest challenges facing Edinburgh Leisure are being felt across the whole sector – public

sector funding cuts against a backdrop of increasing demand for wider services to meet the changing health and wellbeing landscape, not to mention the need to invest in facilities to ensure they meet the demand of modern users. Going forward, we need to shout about what we’re doing to tackle inequalities and get people active and living longer in better health. That’s a key part of what leisure trust outcomes are, which often isn’t recognised.

Tell us about Active Communities

The Active Communities programme supports 10,000 people a year to get active. There are specific programmes for different demographics: older adults, including Steady Steps for falls prevention, as well as people on low incomes – including children who have lived in care. It also welcomes children and young people, people living with disabilities, with concessionary rates and carers coming free and programmes to boost mental wellness –including supporting people with dementia.

What are some of the opportunities?

The Active Communities programme will be critical for us moving forward, so I want to do more to

19 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024
Edinburgh leisure has 17 gyms in the city PHOTO: EDINBURGH LEISURE / CHRIS WATT PHOTOGRAPHY

Young people should not face any barriers of participation

Edinburgh Leisure operates more than 50 venues across the city

■ 17 gym venues, hosting 750+ fitness classes and 250+ gym classes per week

■ Royal Commonwealth Pool

■ Meadowbank Sports Centre –that opened in 2022, replacing a facility which had previously hosted the Commonwealth Games

■ 12 swimming pools including five Victorian baths. Edinburgh’s last remaining Victorian Turkish Baths

■ 32 indoor and outdoor tennis courts

■ 141 sports pitches

■ Three soft play areas

■ Europe’s largest climbing arena

■ Six golf courses

■ Community access to sports facilities and room hire at the city’s 23 high schools

20 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
A full adult fi tness membership costs £59.99 per month
We need to shout about what we're doing to tackle inequalities and get people living longer in better health

champion it. We need to ensure we’re at the table and talking collaboratively about the outcomes we want for this city and how we can support the agenda. We have so many programmes to help people live well, so ultimately prevention and early intervention reduces the need to access NHS or other public services.

There’s also an opportunity to work directly with acute services: hospitals have seen an unprecedented increase in demand and we need to start working more collaboratively with colleagues in the NHS to help reduce this demand. We also need to harness the data available to lobby effectively, so decision-makers are fully informed about the benefits of physical activity.

The City of Edinburgh has just launched a draft Physical Activity and Sport Strategy to continue the work of reducing inequalities and is currently asking residents for their feedback in order to prioritise spending. Edinburgh Council will have a £143m budget shortfall in by 2028/29 and so must find ways to become more efficient, reduce costs and raise more money, or it may have to reduce or stop providing some services, so it’s important that residents influence these decisions.

The demand for Edinburgh Leisure is really high, so we need to continue with community engagement, marketing campaigns and collaboration to ensure we’re meeting the needs of the people of Edinburgh.

Membership costs (per month):

■ Climb membership: £54.50

■ Climb and fitness: £77.50

■ Full fitness: £59.99

■ Fitness class: £45.99

■ Gym only: £39.99

■ Under 18s memberships: £14.99

■ Young adult 18-24: £29.99

■ Swim: £45.99

■ Soft play: £18.99

■ Annual golf season ticket: £588.50

■ Golf bolt on: £34.25

Targeting prevention and could have a huge impact on health and social care

In terms of our estate, we've created a team to look at sustainability and ways to move towards Net Zero.

What trends are you seeing at the moment?

There is a lot of interest in sociable sports, such as pickleball. We offer this at a few of our centres, mainly during the day, by lowering the nets on our badminton courts. Padel tennis is also on our agenda and we’re looking at opportunities for that and considering other new trends and our response for the future, including Hyrox. Golf is another area of growth. It was declining preCOVID, but is on the up now, so we see that as a huge opportunity. We have six courses and are looking at opportunities around coaching, development and adding technology, such as simulated driving ranges. With £100,000 from SportScotland, we’re upgrading the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho, with new bouldering facilities, which will improve opportunities to progress at all levels of the sport.

Supporting refugees and migrants

The redevelopment will make Ratho the only climbing centre in the UK with Olympic-standard facilities for all three climbing disciplines: lead climbing, speed climbing and bouldering. ●

Supporting access to all populations is an important part of Edinburgh Leisure’s work. In 2018, the Relocated People Access Programme was created in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council’s Refugee and Migration team to support relocated individuals new to Edinburgh. Since April 2023, Edinburgh Leisure has supported 1,192 refugees to be active and there have been 19,502 visits to Edinburgh Leisure activities, with referral rates peaking in 2022. In recognition of the high numbers of refugees accessing Edinburgh Leisure services and the contribution the programme was making to the refugees’ wellbeing, the City of Edinburgh Council awarded Edinburgh Leisure £100,000 for the programme in 2022-23 and 2023-24.

22 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 HCM PEOPLE

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We have a fantastic opportunity in front of us to realise our vision of a happier and healthier world
Ross Stewart Campbell
CEO, BeyondActiv
Campbell is now taking services global

Tell us about your original business.

I founded FIT Summit in Singapore in 2018 as a regional business community for fitness brands and executives to connect with each other. FIT was an acronym for ‘Fitness, Investment, Technology’.

It launched as the only business-to-business investment network for our industry in Asia and as our community grew, we expanded to run events in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand.

What inspired the launch?

Around 2016, I sold an events business I part-owned and launched a gym in Singapore to escape the corporate world.

As a new gym owner, I was incredibly passionate but equally naïve when it came to understanding what it took to be successful.

Searching for an industry network that offered help and support, I quickly realised there was none, so decided to build one.

I’m amazed we were the first to do this. There were plenty of established national events (Expro Fitness in Singapore, Asia Fitness Conference in Thailand, TAISPO in Taiwan, SPORTEC in Japan and GOIFEX in Indonesia), but these were mostly education forums and consumer shows, with no real participation from C-suite executives, owners and investors.

Tell us about the rebrand, and going global

Leading up to, and then into the pandemic, we started engaging with multiple verticals alongside fitness, including health, hospitality, wellness, leisure, sports, spa, longevity and employee wellbeing.

HCM PEOPLE 24 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024

We ran virtual events during the lockdowns, further developing our global audience while also establishing a range of services such as business development support, thought leadership promotion, content emails and activations and industry reports. We’re also planning to launch a jobs board.

Today, we have a mix of retained, event and project clients who use a blend of our digital services and physical events to aid growth.

With all this in mind, the name FIT Summit didn’t accurately reflect our business, our clients or our collective ambition and Beyond Activ was born.

What was it that inspired this push for growth?

Our clients have been encouraging us for years to take our services global and help grow their businesses into new regions and market segments. We chose to be brave, to step forward and try to make a difference globally. We have a fantastic

opportunity in front of us to realise our vision of a happier and healthier world. We achieve this by encouraging investment into our industry, because a stronger, healthier industry lifts all boats.

I want to tell my daughter that her dad was brave enough to push ahead, regardless of the naysayers. Fortune favours the brave.

I’m all in. More so, I’m exceptionally proud of my team for working beside me to realise this vision.

What’s the thinking behind the name?

We chose Beyond Activ to represent our industry’s ambition to advance a more active world – one where we are able to embrace both the future, as well as each other.

We look beyond our status quo; beyond the industry we are today, to what we must become to meet the needs of tomorrow. A happier and healthier world is one with active bodies, active minds and active imaginations.

25 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024
Beyond Activ's vision is for a happier, more active world PHOTO: BEYOND ACTIV / THAT CAMERA GUY PHOTOGRAPHY
We chose to be brave, step forward and try to make a difference globally. We have a fantastic opportunity in front of us to realise our vision of a healthier world

Who are the key people driving the business?

Our leadership team is made up of four people. Alongside me are Blair Campbell, chief commercial officer, Jolin Ma, chief operating officer and Daylin Limonte, chief marketing officer.

Have you taken on investment?

We’re a bootstrapped, private company and proudly so and the timing was never right to take on investment, especially with depressed pandemic revenue streams and valuations.

We’ll look at investment or acquisition in time, but for now we’re committing our time to delivering value to our clients and the industry.

Tell us about the recent deal you struck in the Middle East

We signed a three-year MOU with Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment to deliver services to the Kingdom relating to sports, fitness and wellness, including events, promotions, PR and market insight. The first project was our business and

investment event, Beyond Activ EMEA, which took place in Riyadh in February 2024.

This new annual event will showcase industry innovation and excellence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as highlighting international business opportunities.

We’re also working with partners in the region to take them with us to our other events [in Australia, south east Asia and the US], so they can explore new markets, new countries and new investment opportunities.

What’s the endgame?

I love our work, clients and industry, but as any entrepreneur will tell you, every day you carry weight and have to cope with pressure. My goal is to grow our company into a world-class business and then move on, leaving it to my team and the next CEO to use their skills and abilities to set a new benchmark.

At that point, I’d like to unplug, hide in nature for a few months, practice the wellbeing I so often preach about and decide on my next venture in life. l

26 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 HCM PEOPLE
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Basic-Fit considers sale of Holmes Place clubs

There’s speculation that Basic-Fit will sell the five Spanish Holmes Place clubs it just acquired from RSG Group in a 47-club deal.

In a Q1 trading update released today, Basic-Fit CEO, Rene Moos, said that while there are plans for the McFit clubs acquired in the €50m purchase, the future of the Holmes Place clubs is still under consideration. The high-end clubs were acquired by RSG, from the Fisher family, in 2021, and are not an ideal fit for the Basic-Fit portfolio.

“ We’re currently exploring the options for our five Holmes Place clubs”
Rene Moos

The Holmes Place Iberia clubs were originally part of the Virgin Active portfolio

“We’re exploring the options for the five Holmes Place clubs,” said Moos. “In the coming quarters we’ll convert the 42 McFit clubs to the Basic-Fit brand and integrate them into the network. The acquisition strengthens our leading position in Spain and we’ll continue expansion of our Spanish network in the coming years.”

The Spanish acquisition has given the Dutch low-cost operator an extra 100,000 members, taking it past the four million membership milestone and boosting Q1 memberships by 13 per cent, compared to the same period last year.

More results: http://lei.sr/S9n7W_H

Kerzner takes Siro to Los Cabos and Riyadh

Kerzner International has signed deals to operate two new Siro sport and recovery hotels in Mexico and Saudi Arabia, following the launch of the inaugural Siro property this February.

Designed to offer guests a holistic fitness experience, Siro’s destination hotels support guests to unlock their mental and physical potential through five key pillars: fitness, nutrition, sleep, recovery and mindfulness.

Health and wellbeing are a part of every step of the customer journey, including access to extensive fitness and recovery facilities, nutritious F&B options and sanctuary-like guestrooms designed to promote recovery.

The destinations in Riyadh and Los Cabos will join Siro One Za’abeel in Dubai and the forthcoming Siro

“Siro is a direct response to the societal shift in attitudes towards sports and wellness”

Philippe Zuber

Boka Place in Montenegro, which is set to open in Q4 2024.

Kerzner wants to roll the Siro concept out worldwide and envisions opening at least 100 Siro-branded hotels, according to Zoe Wall, vice president Siro and wellness at Kerzner.

More: http://lei.sr/D3v9e_H

news 30 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
A rendering of Siro Olaya Riyadh – the first outpost Saudi Arabia

VivaGym’s Fitness Hut brand has new backers

Private equity fund, Providence Equity Partners, is acquiring a majority stake in VivaGym from Bridges Fund Management, which will exit as a shareholder. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Headquartered in Malaga, VivaGym is a low-cost operator with 315,000 members and 104 gyms across Spain and Portugal, where it operates the Fitness Hut brand. It was originally founded by Nick Coutts.

The offering includes cardio, weights and instructor-led classes. Its no-contract, low price model has opened up fitness, with more than a third of joiners new to the gym.

Juan del Río Nieto, CEO of VivaGym, said Bridges helped the company grow from 15 clubs to be a leading regional operator and it looks

VivaGym is a classic Providence investment: a solid business model and an established brand

forward to further expansion with its new investor: “We have the shared passion and vision to make health and fitness as accessible, affordable and fun as possible, giving us the confidence Providence is the right partner as we enter this new chapter,” he said.

More: http://lei.sr/7G2N2_H

Industry leaders headline at HCM Summit

Global publishing outfit, Leisure Media, has announced details of its new annual conference for decision-makers across the health, fitness and wellness markets.

The event – the HCM Summit – will be held at the QEII Centre in London on 24 October 2024.

The all-keynote summit, hosted by the team at HCM Magazine, will welcome 400 delegates, as well as being webcast live globally and available on-demand. It will cover the public, private and voluntary

sectors, with keynote speakers including Fahad Alhagbani, CEO of Armah Sports, Justin Musgrove, CEO of Fitness First and Olympic rower, Baz Moffat CEO of The Well HQ.

Leisure Media CEO, Liz Terry, said: “Every day, HCM and its sister titles, Spa Business and FitTech bring together operators, suppliers, policymakers and industry experts to collaborate

via its news channels, magazines, books, ezines and social media feeds.

“Our summit will unite this powerful community to network, collaborate and do business, while our global live stream will enable readers around the world to tune in to hear speakers share their insights and expertise.”

31 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024 Get live news at www.HCMmag.com
Robert Sudo
The all-keynote summit will debate issues critical to the future of the sector Liz Terry VivaGym is gearing up for expansion The HCM Summit will range across the health, fitness and wellness sectors

Equinox o ers $40k annual healthspan programme

Equinox, has teamed up with health platform, Function Health, to offer 100 comprehensive laboratory tests, giving members vital insights into their internal health as part of an Optimize by Equinox membership.

Priced at US$40,000 a year, in addition to a gym membership, the programme costs the equivalent of around 70 per cent of the average US salary.

Tests on offer include female health; male health; stress and ageing; metabolic; blood and thyroid function which will provide valuable health insights to be used by Equinox’s elite Coachx trainers in developing personalised programmes.

Julia Klim, Equinox VP of strategic partnerships, describes it as the next chapter of healthspan and longevity: “This partnership represents a new era in personalised, performancedriven health, integrating the highest standards in personal training with cutting-edge research and data across nutrition and regeneration.”

Equinox is adding functional health to its services

Mark Hyman, co-founder and chief medical officer of Function Health and member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board, says: “The Function and Equinox partnership is a historical moment where health breaks out of the doctor’s office and extends beyond the fitness club. By combining Equinox’s expertise with Function

Health’s 100+ lab test approach, we’re unlocking a level of health and fitness that surpasses even what top doctors and biohackers can access.”

The programmes will be delivered out of the E by Equinox clubs – the operator’s most high-end locations.

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European market hits all-time high says Deloitte

Following three disrupted lockdown years, the European fitness market bounced back in 2023, according to Deloitte and EuropeActive’s European Health & Fitness Market Report 2024

The recovery is reflected in all key European market indicators: revenues were up 14 per cent; memberships up by 8 per cent and there was a 1 per cent increase in the number of clubs.

Revenues of European health and fitness club operators amounted to €31.8 billion, exceeding prepandemic levels for the first time. This was driven by large operators expanding and increases in the price of memberships.

By the end of 2023, the European market counted approximately 65,000 clubs and around 67.6 million members.

The top 20 fitness operators generated €6.3 billion in revenues, an increase of 19 per cent on the previous year and ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

When it comes to size, Basic-Fit had the most members at the end of 2023 with 3.8 million, followed by RSG Group with 2 million and PureGym a close third with 1.9 million. These three accounted for around 44 per cent of the members when assessing the top 20.

In total, the top 20 fitness operators by membership recorded 17.4 million members by the end of 2023, an increase of about 13 per cent on the previous year.

More: http://lei.sr/R5V5y_H

news 32 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
SHUTTERSTOCK/NOAH SAUVE Expansion of big chains, such as PureGym, has helped Europe’s fitness See our report in this issue

Barry’s in play as investor North Castle exits

Barry’s – known for its HIIT workouts combining treadmills and weights – is thought to be looking at strategic options, including taking on a new backer.

Talking exclusively to HCM global CEO, Joey Gonzalez said the company is ready to resume its plans to hit the market, after its plans were stalled by COVID.

Current backer, North Castle Partners, had intended to invest for around five years and exit in 2020, so it’s likely its stake will change hands

We’re having conversations around what a transaction might look like

Barry’s is thought to be talking to investors as North Castle prepares to exit now the investor has had its money in the business for nine years. “We’ve spent the last three years getting the company back on track and expect 2024 to look a lot like 2019,” Gonzalez told HCM. “We’re already starting to have conversations around what a transaction might look like –likely another private equity play.”

Barry’s has more than 80 studios in 14 countries, including the UK, Spain, Norway, Canada and Singapore. Gonzalez has ambitions to get to 200 studios before 2030, through a mix of joint ventures and franchising. An Iberian partner was signed last year.

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Bannatyne bounces back from the pandemic

The Bannatyne Group says it’s officially bounced back from the pandemic, with both turnover and profits restored to pre-2020 levels in 2023, according to its year-end results.

Owned by former BBC Dragon’s Den investor, Duncan Bannatyne, the health club and hotel operator, also finished paying off its Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans early and last year grew profits by 30 per cent, to £38m.

Revenues increased by 9 per cent to £139m and EBITDA was up to £38.9m, compared to £29.6m in 2022.

Memberships also increased to 215,659 from 199,046.

Bannatyne said the company has been focusing on core activities and delivering what customers want at the right price.

“The turnaround has only been possible because of the hard work of our staff,” he said. “We’ve introduced new classes and the equipment has been refreshed with fewer cardio machines and more body toning, while our price increases have been modest, protecting members from the worst elements of inflation.

“Realising numerous marginal gains and focussing on customer experience is a well-trodden path to business success and I’m pleased it has worked after the shock of the pandemic and the recent economic turbulence.”

Bannatyne operates 69 clubs, 46 spas and three hotels. The offering comprises gyms, classes, pools, saunas and steamrooms, café and lounge areas.

More: http://lei.sr/G8N7V_H

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Joey Gonzalez PHOTO: THE BANNATYNE GROUP PHOTO: BARRY’S PHOTO: BARRY’S Former Dragon, Duncan Bannatyne, reports profits – thanks his team

Active Lives finds enduring health inequalities

While British adults are the most active they’ve been in a decade, health inequalities remain, with the same groups missing out, according to Sport England’s latest Active Lives Adults Report

Between November 2022 and November 2024, 63.4 per cent of the adult population met the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. This is only a slight increase from 63.1 per cent in 2022, but is two million more than in 2015.

There was little change in the number of inactive people – averaging fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a week – 25.7 per cent of the population (11.9m) compared to 25.8 per cent 12 months ago.

The remaining 10.9 per cent – 5.1 million people – are active between 30 and 149 minutes a week.

Activity levels among older adults are growing: the over-55s show the highest levels of activity since records began.

One quarter of the adult population are still inactive and there is a postcode lottery. The more deprived places show the least activity, ranging from a high of 78 per cent in Brighton and Hove, to just 49 per cent of adults being active in Barking and Dagenham.

The most affluent have seen longterm growth, increasing by 1.6 per cent from the first report, while the least affluent have seen the proportion of active people drop by 2.2 per cent in the same time period.

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Active Oxfordshire tackles extreme inequality

Active Oxfordshire has received £1.3 million to tackle inactivity and inequality and launch a new programme for children.

The funding has come from the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board (BOB ICB), Oxfordshire County Council and city and district councils. It’s earmarked to benefit more than 16,000 residents, who are at the highest risk of inactivity.

Recent data shows that only half the children in the county are meeting

“Our research has proven Oxfordshire is vulnerable to significant inequality gaps”
Josh Lenthall

recommended activity levels, while more than one in three Year Six (aged 10-11) pupils are overweight or obese.

In one of the charity’s priority neighbourhoods, only 10 per cent of children leave primary school able to swim, compared to 80 per cent of living in Oxfordshire’s richest areas.

Josh Lenthall, CEO of Active Oxfordshire, described the

investment as a milestone and said it will be used to upscale existing programmes and introduce new schemes targeting future generations.

“Our research has proven Oxfordshire is particularly vulnerable to significant inequality gaps which hold no place in society as it is today,” he said.

More: http://lei.sr/g7v5Z_H

news 34 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 Get live news at www.HCMmag.com
PHOTO: SPORT ENGLAND Old people are getting more active Active Oxfordshire targets seeks to remove barriers to physical activity

Nu eld calls for National Movement Strategy

Nuffield Health’s fourth annual survey, the Healthier Nation Index, has found people moved slightly more in 2023 than 2022, but almost 75 per cent are still not meeting World Health Organization guidelines.

More than 8,000 people were questioned about their wellbeing, with the results showing that while respondents are moving 18 minutes more each week compared to 2022, the average amount of activity only amounts to 83 minutes per week and 33 per cent hadn’t done any vigorous activity in a year.

Nuffield is calling on all political parties to commit to a National Movement Strategy to promote physical activity and embed movement into every aspect of society and to ensure physical activity is prioritised to offset the nation’s ongoing health crisis.

Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Nuffield Health medical and charity director, said; “While it’s encouraging to see improvements in activity levels, it’s

Nuffield Health research finds men are more motivated to exercise than women

worrying to see that there’s still a lack of understanding of the benefits movement has in preventing and treating long-term conditions.

“We’re already seeing the detrimental effects inactivity levels are having on our personal health, but it’s also having an economic impact. It’s critical that as a nation

we prioritise movement and work collectively across government, healthcare providers, employers and the fitness industry, as well as at community level, to find solutions to help people find ways to build movement into their everyday lives.”

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John Kersh to drive growth at Crunch Fitness

Crunch Fitness, has bolstered its global expansion plans with the appointment of John Kersh as managing director of international development.

Kersh has more than 25 years’ experience in the fitness and franchising business, most recently as chief international development officer at Xponential where he was responsible for the global expansion of boutique brands, including Pure Barre, Club Pilates, CycleBar and StretchLab. During his time at Xponential, he closed master franchise agreements in 20 countries, including taking Rumble and AKT to Japan and four brands to Kuwait.

Prior to that, Kersh held executive development roles for Self-Esteem Brands, Anytime

Crunch has grown consistently since it launched its franchise offering and in my opinion is poised for significant growth John Kersh

Fitness and IHRSA (now the Health and Fitness Association.)

In his new role, he will be responsible for the brand’s expansion strategy and identifying global growth franchise partners.

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Crunch Fitness is planning to open at least 40 more sites this year

Xplor’s Mariana Tek software wins 1Rebel deal

Atlanta-based boutique fitness software company, Xplor Mariana Tek, has kicked off a push for international expansion.

Boutique gym brand, 1Rebel, which has studios in London and the Middle East, has already switched to the software. The company’s marketing director, Michelle Stoodley, says: “We’re leveraging Xplor Mariana Tek’s consumer insights, analytics and APIs to enhance the premium and personalised experience we deliver inside and outside the studio, so every interaction with our brand is the same immersive experience clients get with a 1Rebel class.”

Other UK operators using it include Barry’s, BLOK, ROX and Trenches Boxing Club.

The software platform enables studios to curate and customise the branded experience they offer customers, both in-studio and online.

A custom app enables members to book a class, bring a guest, use

Xplor Mariana Tek helps boutiques boost class bookings

geo-location to check-in, pre-order, purchase items, select their favourite reformer, bike, or mat in the studio, and add themselves to class waitlists.

The company says that in 2023, US studios that migrated to the system saw their average reservations increase by 36 per cent and bring-a-guest booking volumes rise by 35 per cent.

Founded in 2014 as Mariana Tech by Stacey Seldin and John Huffsmith – who built and scaled the tech platform at Flywheel – the software became part of Xplor through its owner, Advent International, which purchased it in 2019.

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Moonbird wants to teach the world to breathe

Moonbird is a tactile breathing coach, which provides realtime biofeedback, measuring heart rate and heart rate variability. Studies show it can reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality.

Breathing is our most powerful tool to help reduce stress and anxiety. A few minutes of breathwork act as a reset button for the nervous system and calm the fight or flight response. Despite this, it’s easy to forget about it when we’re caught up in a stressful moment. Many of us spend much of our days shallow chest breathing, or even worse, mouth breathing.

Moonbird solves this problem. Designed by a Belgian start-up, it’s a tactile device that fits in the palm of the hand and softly inflates and deflates, so the user can breathe in

“We founded Moonbird after seeing friends and family struggling with stress and anxiety ” Stefanie

time. It can be used on its own, or connected to an app, which offers different breathing exercises and gives feedback on heart coherence, heart rate and heart rate variability, as well as allowing the user to track health improvements.

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Moonbird is a hand-held device to coach breathing

Unveils brand-new hub for innovative Research and Development at headquarters

Pulse Fitness is thrilled to announce the grand opening of its state-of-theart showroom gym at the company’s headquarters this March.

Located at the heart of the company’s headquarters in Congleton, this space will now serve as a dedicated space for ongoing research and development. The showroom gym will function as a live testing ground, allowing Pulse Fitness to gather valuable insights and feedback from

users. This customer-centric approach will enable the company to continuously enhance and refine its machines based on real-world usage and user preferences.

Leading British fitness equipment manufacturer Pulse Fitness is transforming the company’s headquarters into a dynamic hub for both potential buyers and groundbreaking research and development with its new state-of-the-art showroom.

Dedicated to shifting the approach in product evolution, the space will allow the Pulse Fitness team to gather in-depth insights into user experiences and preferences. Pulse Fitness plans to implement enhancements and modifications that resonate with the diverse user base.

If you are interested in viewing this new research hub, please register your interest at www.pulsefitness.com/contact

The centre will provide a hands-on experience for potential buyers to explore and test the latest cutting-edge machines in a fully equipped gym environment. Visitors will have the opportunity to witness firsthand the innovation and quality that define Pulse Fitness products. In addition to its role as a hub for innovation, this space will operate as a fully functional commercial gym.

Pulse Fitness,
Greenfield Rd, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 4TW
Radnor Pk,
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Menzies took over as CEO just as the company’s gyms went into lockdown
I needed a new management team with the talent and leadership to reposition a 20-year-old brand

Ty Menzies

Snap Fitness is looking for a new investor and with a goal of 35 per cent growth by 2028, has ambitious plans. The CEO of parent company Lift Brands speaks to Kate Cracknell

What was your journey into Lift Brands?

I started out as a personal trainer in Australia, moving through sales roles before relocating to the UK as a club manager for Gold’s Gym. It was my first introduction to franchising and club management and it fuelled an interest in gym ownership.

Returning to Australia, I purchased into the EFM Health Clubs franchise and ultimately owned three clubs, two in schools and one in a hospital. Taking the schools model as an example, we kitted them out and in the mornings, evenings and weekends ran them as private clubs. During the day, the schools used them for PE. In return, we had the space rent- and amenities-free. It was a great model.

Separate from EFM, I bought two independent clubs and converted them to a 24/7 model.

In late 2014 I sold most of my businesses – keeping just one club, which ultimately

became a Snap Fitness when it was acquired by a franchisee in 2022 – as my wife and I were planning to get into management rights and hotels. But then I got a tap on the shoulder from the then master franchisor for Snap Fitness Australia and New Zealand. I ended up coming on board, and from 2015 to 2017 ran Snap Fitness Australia, then New Zealand too, before selling the master franchise rights for both countries back to Lift Brands and its finance partner TZP Group in 2018.

At that point, Lift Brands asked me to oversee all the Snap Fitness master franchisors across APAC, as well as running Australia and New Zealand, and gave me a good degree of autonomy as we were getting good results.

Then came a period of change in the company. Snap Fitness and Lift Brands founder Peter Taunton stepped back from management, although he remains on the board and in 2019

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a new CEO was appointed. By early 2020, just before COVID, he had decided it wasn’t for him and I was offered the role. But by the time I’d flown back from New York to Australia, all our gyms had gone into lockdown. It was a hugely challenging time, running a global business where every market had different rules, and all from a country that had totally closed its borders meaning I couldn’t leave.

What were your first big projects as CEO?

I’d say that there were two critical things for me to work on – f irstly, I needed to clean up the portfolio. Peter [Taunton] is a serial entrepreneur; when I took over as CEO, Lift Brands had grown to nine brands, from YogaFit to TruMav Fitness to Superior Security. We exited most of the brands, either because they weren’t profitable or because they didn’t

align with the direction of the business. Our focus is now on owning and driving Snap Fitness and Fitness on Demand globally.

Secondly, I needed a new management team – one with the talent and strong leadership needed to take a 20-year-old brand like Snap Fitness and reposition it.

When it was founded in 2003, the model of affordable pricing, convenient 24/7 access and a smaller footprint…it was all groundbreaking. By the early 2020s, it wasn’t so innovative; the industry had evolved quite significantly, but the brand hadn’t.

It will take a while for every club to look like our newest units, but the repositioning work is complete and Snap is performing well: member numbers and same-store sales are up 15.5 per cent compared to pre-COVID and system-wide sales are similarly up around 15 per cent.

When it was founded, Snap Fitness was ground-breaking, but by 2020 the industry had evolved, but the brand hadn’t
Consumers are demanding more access to strength training

The brand is being repositioned as sites are overhauled

How have you repositioned Snap Fitness?

The first job was to understand where we sit in the market and how we should articulate our brand to potential members and franchisees.

We started by asking our existing franchisees for their views, and interestingly there was only one point where everyone agreed: we operate in a local community. Outside of that, there were very different responses. We realised we needed to align globally, to bring everyone onto the same page.

We embarked on a highly collaborative process with our franchisees, our team, our members and our ex-members. Led by brand strategy expert Yonder Consulting, there were extensive interviews, surveys, competitor research, community and ethnographic studies.

What became evident was that the fitness industry is homogenous in how it communicates what it does. The language is performanceand aesthetics-driven: many before and after photos, ‘harder, faster, stronger – no pain, no gain’ messaging, a lot of high-performance language that beginners can find intimidating.

Actually, most people go to a gym to feel better, and that’s far quicker to achieve

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Receptions have been made more welcoming
Actually most people go to the gym to feel better and that’s far easier to achieve than losing 5kg

than losing 5kg. So, we decided to move away from talking about how fitness makes you look to how fitness makes you feel.

How do you make ‘feelgood’ a reality?

It starts at the top with our ethos of ‘one team’, knowing this will ultimately filter down to our members. At Lift Brands, we aim to create happy, healthy lifestyles for our franchisees and our team as well as our customers. We’re all in this together. Our business will only succeed if everyone is successful and happy.

As part of that, we have a highly collaborative approach with our franchisees; in a franchise business, it’s very hard to drive change unless your franchisees are onboard and collaborating. They have to buy in and invest. So over the last few years, we’ve invested heavily in education for our franchisees and club managers, delivering 112 education sessions in 2023 alone, including some big regional events.

At a club level, we’ve introduced changes such as adjusting reception desk and stool heights to meet members at eye level when they come in; we’ve introduced good mood

messaging around the club; and we communicate the idea of exercise being ‘for the feeling’.

We’ve also changed the way we segment our members, moving away from traditional demographics to create four profiles based on attributes and experience in the gym.

Now, our sales and marketing, onboarding and customer journeys are all geared around these four profiles, with a much more personalised approach than before. The team takes the time to understand who’s sitting in front of them and speaks to them accordingly, identifying barriers, helping find solutions, modifying the language they use. It all helps people feel happy about going on a journey with us.

The first of our four groups are the Fitness Newbies – people who’ve never been to the gym before and who need extra support. Then there are the Routine Seekers, who have a bit of knowledge but who have failed at the gym before and fallen off the wagon. Between them, these two groups make up 70 per cent of the Snap Fitness membership and we speak to them differently from the other two groups: the Motivate Me Mores,

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who know what they’re doing but need better support, community and content to stay engaged; and the Next Levellers, who are fully motivated and just want great kit, facilities, community and content when they need it. Understanding people’s needs and using the right language to speak to them is key to helping each member feel good –comfortable and happy – in our clubs.

Does technology play a role?

In our proprietary app, members can earn milestone rewards and activity badges that recognise not only their activity in the gym, but also the things they do outside of the gym. The sense of accomplishment that

Members are grouped as Fitness Newbies, Routine Seekers, Motivate Me More and Next Levellers Members can earn rewards in the Snap app
We introduced good mood messaging, communicating the idea of exercise being ‘for the feeling’

comes from this fuels people’s motivation to keep going; small gratifications and reasons to celebrate make people feel good.

We already collaborate and integrate with a variety of digital products and wearable tech, including Apple, Google Health and Myzone. A Samsung integration is coming soon, and we’re looking forward to embracing further integrations this year to help our members easily prioritise their holistic wellness.

Through our Apple collaboration, we use financial incentives to motivate members. As you exercise, you earn credits to redeem against the membership cost by closing your Apple rings and visiting the gym. You can earn £7.45 a month in credits and redeem it whenever you like. Earning a month’s free membership is a great way to feel good about the activity you’ve done.

We’ll also be embracing AI in our app, with even more tailored workout and nutrition recommendations based on members’ goals and preferences, further supporting our personalised approach.

Has the offering changed over time?

Recent changes have been driven by consumer sentiment and demand. For example, a lot of people are telling us they want to feel stronger, which is great. We’ve therefore reduced our cardio areas by 20–30 per cent and given that space over to strength, functional training and open floor space; our digital content helps people build confidence faster, meaning these spaces are well used.

We’re currently looking at trends such as wellness, with recovery and wellness spaces

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Apple, Google Health and Myzone integrate with the gym tech

possible future additions to our offering –provided we can do it within our model of affordable convenience. And as I mentioned previously, we also continue to invest in wearable technology and integrations.

Tell us more about your collaboration with franchisees

I love building culture across organisations, educating franchisees and helping them grow. It’s something I was involved in at EFM and a big part of why the Lift Brands role appealed in the first place. I’ve been a franchisee myself. I know how it feels when the franchisor makes decisions that don’t really consider the interests of the franchisee.

That’s why Snap Fitness has a franchisee advisory council for each of our regions, where

The Lift Brands portfolio

Franchise specialist Lift Brands has 100 per cent ownership of two brands – gym franchise Snap Fitness and digital content and engagement platform Fitness On Demand – as well as minority investments in 9Round and Fitstop.

Snap Fitness has reached 1,000 clubs in 19 countries: approximately 550 in the US, 320 in APAC and 120 in EMEA, with strength in depth in the US, Australia and the UK.

Of the 1,000 clubs, around 25 are corporately owned – in the US, Australia and New Zealand – with plans to do more in the US and other key markets such as the UK and Ireland. “It gives us a feel for what’s happening in the market and allows us to test ideas and changes before we roll them out,” says global CEO Ty Menzies.

Interestingly, Lift Brands owns the master franchise for Snap Fitness in six markets: the US and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the UK and Ireland. Growth is in collaboration with master franchisees in the other markets: Benelux, Turkey, Georgia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia.

Minority investments of around 40 per cent in 9Round and Fitstop see these businesses still run by their respective management teams, with Lift Brands predominantly acting as a “supportive partner” that helps the businesses to grow.

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Lift has a minority stake in 9Round PHOTO: LIFT BRANDS

we consult with representatives before making any decisions: we’ll only do something if it’s voted through by the majority. That leads to a lot of accountability in the business: we’re accountable to our franchisees, but once something has been voted through, we also expect all franchisees to get on board.

Every new franchisee gets between three and five days of intensive onboarding through the Snap University, as well as access to our ongoing learning and development platform. We leverage this digital content to suggest structured learning plans. We also deliver regional in-person training twice a year, and major regional conventions annually.

In return, we currently charge a fairly low fixed royalty with additional charges for various items: a new member fee, a maintenance fee and so on. We’re moving to a percentage royalty model though: 6 per cent, plus another 2 per cent for marketing. This will be a five- to 10-year process, as at existing sites we’ll only introduce the new model when tenures come up for renewal.

What are your growth plans for Snap Fitness?

From the 1,000 units we have now, we’re looking to reach 1,350 globally by 2028, predominantly in the US, Australia and UK, with some growth from Ireland and elsewhere in Europe and APAC.

We’ll focus on the 19 markets in which we currently operate and expect much of the growth to be organic: existing franchisees

PROFILE 46 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
Fitstop focuses on strength, conditioning and athletic performance

looking to take on additional units. We sold 77 licences last year, the most since 2012, and 70 per cent of these went to existing franchisees. However, there’s also a great opportunity for new capital to drive further growth. TZP has been invested for 10 years – the result of a pandemic followed by our change in leadership – but Snap Fitness is now on the market through Stifel in the US and EMEA, supported by Record Point in APAC. We’ll need to see what the new ownership looks like, but we certainly have a very clear plan, a strong management team and a few possible areas of acquisition. The sale is about finding an investor that wants to buy into this.

What acquisitions are you considering?

We’re always on the lookout. Pilates is a trend we’re interested in, for example, and there’s also space within the Lift Brands portfolio for a different type of gym – a big

box concept, perhaps. Ideally we’re looking for complementary acquisitions, but we might also acquire similar businesses that could be converted to Snap Fitness.

Lift Brands gives us a good platform to do this sort of thing, rather than trying to innovate purely within the individual brands.

Lift Brands also owns Fitness On Demand… Fitness On Demand (FOD) was originally founded in 2011 to deliver on-demand, in-club group exercise on big screens in Snap Fitness clubs. Over time, the product has evolved to include a white label app for gyms, apartment complexes and corporate wellness, with our latest content partnership meaning we can offer Les Mills programming on our platform.

Of our 2,500 unique customers, 40 per cent are currently gyms, 40 per cent multi-family housing, 10 per cent hotels and hospitality,

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Lift Brands has a 40 per cent stake in Fitstop PHOTO: LIFT BRANDS

Fitstop is growing well. In 2023 it added 45 locations and launched in New Zealand, Singapore and the US. It has grown sustainably and has great founder-led energy

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is a functional training operator based in Australia PHOTO: LIFT BRANDS

and 10 per cent corporate wellness and healthcare – but the latter is growing fast and is a big focus for us moving forward.

While it’s true that Lift Brands is a franchise specialist, we like having FOD in our suite of brands. It allows us to service the rapidly growing corporate wellness segment and address a broader customer base.

Tell us about some of Lift’s other investments

We have 40 per cent stakes in both 9Round and Fitstop, which are both single-discipline concepts.

The boutique fitness space is much tougher post-COVID and franchising singlediscipline brands brings its own challenges. The initial investment for the franchisee is smaller, but studios tend to be run by the owner, meaning that franchisees typically only have one boutique site each.

As a result, you’re dealing with a much larger group of franchisees, increasing the risk compared to Snap, for example, where each franchisee typically has between two and four locations.

However, since 2013 Lift Brands has invested in the growth of 9Round. In addition to our stake in the global business, we also bought the master developer rights for Australia and New Zealand and have 22 locations. Mostly, though, we’re a good partner to a US-based business that’s still run by its own management team, with 420 units across 18 countries.

Meanwhile, Fitstop is a functional franchise with a focus on strength, conditioning and athletic performance. Based in Queensland, Australia, it’s growing well: in 2023, it added 45 locations and launched in New Zealand, Singapore and the US – growth in the US being one of the key reasons we came onboard. Fitstop now has 120 locations in Australia, four in New Zealand, three in Singapore and two – with a further four in build – in the US. It’s grown steadily and sustainably and has great founder-led energy.

That’s something we’d certainly look for in any future acquisitions: good founder-led principles and strong leadership, as well as a critical number of locations, strong franchisor financials and strong franchisee performance and sentiment. l

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Fitness on Demand has evolved into a white label app

Everyone’s talking about

Indoor cycling

Speaking on the LIFTS podcast recently, Xponential Fitness

CEO Anthony Geisler said participation in studio cycling is down globally. Kath Hudson decided to investigate

Brands and modalities come in and out of favour,” Geisler told LIFTS podcast host, Matt Januszek. “Cycling right now is down globally about 25 per cent, and there’s a lot of data to support that. Flywheel closed 100 per cent of its locations, SoulCycle closed around 50 per cent of its locations and we’ve closed somewhere around 25 per cent of our [CycleBar] locations.” Geisler also said that HFA (IHRSA) data supported his statement. There’s some evidence to validate his comments. According to Statista, studio cycling in the US peaked in 2019, at 9.93 million participants per year, and has dipped over the last four years to around six million. Studio cycling was popularised by boutiques, but this section of the market was battered by COVID and then the shift to working from home. The outdoor cycling industry is experiencing a downturn in some countries. Having boomed during the pandemic, road cycling participation has dropped to pre-pandemic levels in the UK, according to the Department of Transport. The secondhand bike

Geisler kicked off the debate

market has also nosedived since the highs of lockdown and many bike shops are struggling to stay afloat.

Studio cycling has been popular for many years, but the industry is constantly evolving and new modalities have recently surged in popularity. Strength training is on an upswing, especially among women, while participation in Reformer Pilates and time spent on recovery activities is also on the up. People have a finite amount of time and like new, shiny things, so have these modalities stolen participants from cycling? HCM hears that some operators are removing cycling studios.

Third Space CEO, Colin Waggett, says that while cycling is still an integral part of Third Space offering

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Mintel predicts a UK recovery in studio cycling, partly led by women
Anthony on the LIFTS podcast with Mo Iqbal (L) and Matt Januszek (R)
Cycling right now is down globally about 25 per cent, and there’s a lot of data to support that
Anthony Geisler

and remains popular, the cycling studios being built at the new clubs are slightly smaller, to reflect the fact that people are participating in other activities as well. But it’s not all bad news. Custom Market Insights says the market is still growing. Its report Global Indoor Cycling Market estimated this modality to be worth US$1.5bn in 2021 and predicted it to grow to US$2.8bn by 2030. 360 Research Reports also forecasts growth. In its report Indoor Cycling Market it said the high adoption of advanced technology and presence of large players are likely to create ample growth opportunities in North America, which will have a knock-on effect in other territories, especially Europe.

Mintel predicts a recovery in the UK outdoor cycling market, partly driven by women: more than 40 per cent of females aged under-45 have indicated an interest in cycling, This suggests further potential for studio cycling participation among this cohort. New research (page 108) has found that ‘huff and puff’, cardiorespiratory exercise is critical when it comes to reducing premature death and disease, giving the sector more evidence when it comes to championing cardio with members and consumers and avoiding the industry skewing too much towards strength. We ask the experts what they see when it comes to the future for indoor cycling.

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Uffe A Olesen

Body Bike International

Is indoor cycling in decline?

Not from where we stand.

The story from our partner Les Mills shows indoor cycling has been its top-performing category in terms of growth over the last year, for example, and our multisite customers in Denmark have full classes with wait-lists. One major European customer, who looked at taking cycling studios out, is in the process of putting them back. And in the UK, Leisure DB counted 2,594 gyms with a group

cycling studio in 2023 (37.1 per cent of UK gyms), up from 2,409 in 2018 (34.2 per cent).

It’s incorrect to point to challenges in the boutique market – closures and reduced bookings through the likes of Classpass – and deem it evidence of a general decline.

One major European customer, who briefly took cycling studios out of its club, is in the process of putting them back

Boutique is only part of the picture and the issues are not unique to indoor cycling, they’re sector-wide, not discipline-specific.

Boutiques boomed in the years leading up to the pandemic, with indoor cycling – and notably SoulCycle – leading the charge. However, as far back as 2019, [the now defunct] Club Industry

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Operators cutting back and quoting reduced member interest are in this position because they haven’t innovated or invested

reported that only 40 per cent of boutiques were making money.

Then came the pandemic and the cracks began to show: in the 2022 Boutique Fitness Solutions State of the Industry Report , only 9.4 per cent of surveyed studios had a profit margin of 20 per cent or more.

This has led to closures and not just in indoor cycling. Brands such as SoulCycle might have occupied the spotlight, but the higher they fly, the harder they fall – certainly in the headlines –and this has skewed the picture.

Meanwhile, there are many boutique success stories; Barry’s, for example, clearly sees the future

in this discipline and is rolling out its Ride x Lift concept.

If we take boutique hypergrowth and subsequent rationalisation out of the equation, what we see is a market that’s very stable.

Indoor cycling pre-dates boutiques: it’s been a staple for decades. It might not be as ‘of the moment’ as reformer Pilates, but neither is it a discipline in decline.

It ticks the boxes for everyone, provides a richness of data in a fun, music-filled and community-focused workout that engages and motivates.

One very positive thing boutiques have done is raise customer

Cycling is a fun, community-focused, music-filled workout

expectations, meaning an immersive, engaging experience is now the price of entry for indoor cycling.

Operators that are cutting back and quoting reduced member interest are in this position because they haven’t innovated or invested. That’s understandable given the last few years, but as investment budgets return, it’s time to upgrade spaces, equipment, tech and most of all instructors.

My simple advice? Hire people who will fill the room.

I’m confident indoor cycling will continue to stand the test of time, provided it evolves in line with consumer expectations.

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Cycle’s versatility makes it essential to the future growth of the fitness market

Martin Franklin

Studio cycling had a tough time during the pandemic, with social distancing rules preventing operators from optimising space in what is usually the most profitable area of the club, per square foot.

Post-pandemic shifts in consumer behaviour have also made it difficult for certain sections of the market, notably connected fitness brands and city-centre boutiques, but this is true across all training modalities and not limited to cycle.

Operators who consistently win in the cycling space understand the importance of appealing to different target audiences. An addictive cycle studio should deliver four types of workouts: fitness, performance, HIIT and exertainment, as well as channelling great coaches and instructors to lead the genre of class, delivering inspiring experiences on the bike.

We’re seeing that members are loving working out in clubs and that community forms a big part of what keeps them coming back. Operators who are doubling down on the cycle studio are still seeing strong results: Places Leisure has been reaping the rewards of investing in immersive studios, for example, while at Les Mills’ Auckland City club, the cycle programmes made up three of the top five attended classes this February.

The indoor cycle studio is often the most stylish and dynamic section of the health and fitness club. Whether it’s nightclubinspired lighting and design, pumping sound systems, or sexy screens, creating a show-stopping cycle studio is a great way to pull in prospects and retain members.

Experiential workouts, strong communities and programmes that cater for different member needs are the keys to ensuring your club has a strong cycle offering to keep members cranking up the gears and filling studios.

Fitness is very trend-driven and there’s no getting away from the fact that strength training is red hot right now, particularly among Gen Z, but cycle certainly isn’t going anywhere and its versatility makes it essential to the future growth of the fitness market.

We have a whole new generation of fitness fans taking their first steps into exercise – 27 per cent of current exercisers describe themselves as absolute beginners, presenting a huge opportunity. Our research shows that helping beginners find intrinsic motivation to exercise is the key to ensuring long-term adherence.

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The cycle studio is often the most stylish and dynamic area of the club PHOTO:
We’ve undertaken significant enhancements in the design of our cycling spaces, focusing on creating a vibrant, inviting atmosphere

Current data indicates a downward trend across the sector, particularly within boutique cycling establishments. This decline can be attributed to both a decrease in participation and challenges related to the quality

of programming. We’re actively addressing these issues by enhancing our programming quality and engaging more effectively with our members to revive interest and participation in studio cycling. There is a noticeable shift in preferences within the fitness industry. We’re observing a transition from traditional static workouts, such as studio cycling, to more dynamic, community-oriented,

and sport-based programming, such as Hyrox. This trend emphasises the growing demand for engaging and competitive fitness experiences that incorporate leaderboards and community participation. As a result, cycling is facing challenges in maintaining its popularity, prompting us to innovate and adapt our offerings to meet the evolving needs of our clients.

Snap is actively working to revitalise its cycling sessions to keep members engaged and enthusiastic. We’ve undertaken significant enhancements in the design of our cycling spaces, focusing on creating a vibrant and inviting atmosphere. This includes new lighting systems and an updated ambiance that enhances the overall experience. Additionally, we are refining our content management strategies, including music selection and session structure, to ensure each cycling class is energising and enjoyable. These improvements, combined with our ongoing updates to programming, are aimed at delivering an unparalleled cycling experience to our members.

People are drawn to cycling for its simplicity: classes are easy to follow which makes it accessible to participants of all fitness levels. The role of coaches and music is pivotal in enhancing the experience, as they both energise the sessions and motivate participants. Additionally, consumers appreciate how cycling sessions provide a temporary escape from the stresses of daily life, offering a mental and physical release that’s rejuvenating and fulfilling. l

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Yates: We’re focused on reviving interest in cycling
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classes are easy to follow and members enjoy the simplicity

European revenues exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time



The European fitness sector is beating pre-pandemic numbers according to the 11th annual European Health & Fitness Market Report 2024 from Deloitte and EuropeActive, as Karsten Hollasch reports

Following three years of disruption with COVID-19-related restrictions, 2023 marked the first year of clear trading and this was reflected in all key European market indicators: revenues increased by 14 per cent; memberships by 8 per cent and there was a 1 per cent increase in the number of clubs. Revenues of European brick-and-mortar operators amounted to €31.8 billion, exceeding pre-pandemic record levels for the first time. The two-digit percentage upswing in revenues was impacted not only by expansions and membership increases but also by widespread price increases passed on to consumers due to inflationary cost pressures. Most fitness club operators surveyed for the report said they’d have upped their prices for one month and 12 month contracts compared to 2022. By the end of 2023, the European market counted approximately 65,000 clubs and around

67.6 million members. The surpassing of prepandemic membership levels was primarily driven by the expansion of the larger operators, and by a rebound effect in some countries, however, at national level, some countries – such as Germany – were still slightly lagging behind pre-pandemic membership and revenue levels at the year end.

The big hitters

The Top 20 operators by turnover at the close of 2023 generated €6.3 billion in revenues – a 19 per cent increase on 2022 and exceeding pre-pandemic levels. In terms of memberships, the ranking was led by Basic-Fit with 3.8 million (this had exceeded 4 million by April 2024), RSG Group with 2 million and PureGym with 1.9 million. Combined, they accounted for around 44 per cent of the entire membership count of the Top 20 European operators.

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Karsten Hollasch

RSG Group was one of the top three operators by membership

In total, the Top 20 fitness operators by membership recorded 17.4 million members by the end of 2023, an increase of about 13 per cent when compared with the previous year. The club network of the 20 largest operators grew by 7 per cent to 6,155 clubs. Hence, the Top 20 operators were able to outperform the aggregated European market across all three KPIs – turnover, memberships and number of clubs.

Consumer behaviour

In 2023, the three key fitness settings – outdoor, athome and in a health club – remained complementary for consumers who exercise regularly (defined as being at least once a week). However, the proportion of multi-location users had decreased slightly, driven by a shift away from home fitness towards clubs. When choosing a health club, the most important factors according to regular users were price

The top 20 operators outperformed the market across all three KPIs –turnover, membership and number of clubs

and value for money, followed by the quality of the equipment, location, and opening hours. Perhaps surprisingly, social factors, such as community, recommendation or socially/ ecologically sustainable practices of the operators played a less important role in the club selection process. For people who do not exercise regularly (or at all), it is mainly intrinsic reasons, such as

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Key takeaways

In the first year since 2020 without COVID restrictions, memberships and revenues were up in clubs across Europe

Revenues at bricks and mortar clubs exceeded pre-pandemic levels for most European countries

Inflationary pressures led to an increase in the price of memberships

Basic-Fit had the highest number of members, followed by RSG Group and PureGym

There has been a shift from athome workouts back to the club

Customers rate price over environmental factors when choosing a club

Merger and acquisitions were slightly less than the ten-year average, with interest rates having an impact

general motivation, or lack of time, that prevents them from exercising more frequently.

Mergers and acquisitions

In 2023, a total of 12 merger and acquisition deals (where a minimum of four clubs changed hands) saw the ownership of 142 clubs transferred. This is around six deals less than the ten-year average of 18 deals per year, but only marked a decrease of one compared to the previous year.

The top three transactions by the number of transferred clubs were the acquisition of the Swiss fitness chain NonStop Gym by the financial investor Invision AG (31 clubs); the sale of Actic Group’s 22 clubs in the German-speaking countries to German fitness operator, ACISO Holding, and the acquisition of 17 Aktiv Trening clubs by Norwegian company, Norsk Treningshelse AS.

Considering the last five years, the number of deals and deal volumes varied markedly. This is due not only to the impact of the recent interest environment, but also to the influence of individual market participants.

In the last five years, the number of transferred clubs has mainly been driven by a small number of significant deals. In fact, the three largest transactions accounted for roughly 50 to 70 per cent of the total clubs transferred.

Deal volume peaked in 2020, impacted by the acquisition of 240 Fitness World clubs by

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PureGym is now in the top three European operators by size Deloitte 2024

PureGym and 240 Keepcool clubs which were bought by the holding company Group3S.

During the last two years, M&A activities of four companies headquartered in Poland (Benefit Systems, Medicover) and Germany (BestFit Group, LifeFit Group) made up 40 per cent of the deal quantity in this period – 10 of 25 deals.


In 2023, the fitness facility sector continued to grow and exceeded pre-pandemic levels on an aggregated European level. However, European fitness operators faced inflationary pressure, resulting in increased membership prices for consumers. In addition, the development of interest rates impacted M&A deal quantity and volume. In light of the continuous growth of the market and a required future development that would be fairly in line with pre-pandemic growth. EuropeActive continues to target 100 million members by 2030 (= a CAGR of 5.8 per cent).

Environmental agenda

As well as shedding light on overall market trends, development and M&A activity, this year’s Deloitte report details information on sustainability regulation in the EU and insights on equipment suppliers and intermediaries, as well as analyses of consumers’ fitness activity and behaviour.

In the last five years, the number of transferred clubs has been driven by a small number of significant deals

PureGym’s purchase of Fitness World was a factor in 2020 being a peak year for deals

Benefit Systems in Poland has contributed significantly to M&A activity

For the latter, EuropeActive commissioned Deloitte to conduct an extensive piece of consumer research, which surveyed 10,840 consumers living in 19 different European countries to establish their views on the market. l

l European Health & Fitness Market Report 2024 (184 pages), by Deloitte, in partnership with EuropeActive, can be ordered at www.hcmmag.com/Deloitte2024

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What needs to happen to integrate physical activity with healthcare? Leaders in the sector share their thoughts

Everybody’s talking about the ‘pivot to active wellbeing’ but do professionals working in the active leisure sector understand how to make it happen? It’s a topic much debated, but one that remains more of a goal than an achievement.

Fitness is melding into the wellness industry but, as yet, the same can’t be said for the complex healthcare system. How can the active leisure sector pivot so it’s acknowledged by healthcare as essential?

In its 2022 Future of Public Sector Leisure * report, Sport England looked at how to evolve the sector from a traditional leisure service into one more focused on active wellbeing, creating a closer relationship between health and leisure built on social prescribing and the delivery of preventative activity opportunities.

Two years on, the sector has still not reached its full potential in supporting the health of the nation. At the 2023 Active Uprising

Summit, UK Active chair, Mike Farrar, called on the government to deploy the physical activity sector to support the NHS.

The evidence that physical activity is one of our best weapons in the battle against sickness and disease is indeed irrefutable, but when every county and healthcare trust has different policies and funding comes from numerous sources, navigating a pivot can be a daunting prospect for operators. We asked leaders in the sector to share their opinions.

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The sector needs to embrace partnerships with the health service

Traditionally, leisure hasn’t embraced data, but it’s important we begin to; health lives on evidence

In order to survive, leisure must redefine why it exists – which is to become a preventative health service, rather than an optional leisure service. That, to me, is what the pivot to active wellbeing is about; re-defining the value we bring to society, then being prepared to re-design aspects of our services so our approach genuinely meets the needs of our communities.

If we’re going to play a contributory role to addressing health inequalities and improving population health, we must move away from our own entrenched position and learn to understand the language health is speaking. We’ve got to view things from health’s perspective, seek out healthcare partners and ask: ‘how can we play a role that might support you?’ Think about your landscape, try to understand your neighbourhoods’ needs, then collaborate with other agencies to meet those needs.

Traditionally, leisure hasn’t embraced data, but it’s important we begin to; health lives on evidence.

We must apply the same degree of rigour to our evidence as already exists in the health service. Only then are we likely to be accepted, believed and invited to occupy a credible space by healthcare.

We recently partnered with State of Life to evaluate the effectiveness of our Exercise Referral scheme for people with long-term health conditions. We’re encouraged by the evaluation – top line figures suggest the programme delivers a £17,500 benefit per person and is estimated to be eight times more beneficial than physical activity in the general population. If we apply this calculation to the known participants who completed the programme in the same year, this delivers around £14m in social value to Stockport. This approach to health intervention is 12 times more cost effective than the NHS.

Significantly, the evaluation has relied on collecting high quality data and giving it a Wellbeing value (Wellby) – a methodology recognised by the UK Treasury – which can be benchmarked against the QALY, a recognised measure in health services (www.HCMmag.com/HCMWellby). This level of scrutiny can illustrate and demonstrate the credibility our services can command.

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OTOHP : L I F E L E I S U RE / CASTLESTUDIOS Exercise benefits all ages and social groups PHOTO: LIFE LEISURE / BRINNINGTON / AGE UK

Idoubt there’s a council in the land that isn’t fretting over what to do with their leisure services, given the perilous state of local government finances. These same officers will be hearing about a pivot to active wellbeing and thinking ‘that makes sense’, but questioning how to go about it.

brilliantly with both public health and the wider NHS. This includes Prehab4Cancer, which is heading towards 10,000 patients a year.

In Greater Manchester, we’ve been wrestling with this for years. Recently we sought advice from kindred spirits nationwide who are doing amazing things utilising their assets, people and buildings to really make headway in working with health. We have a growing list of examples where leisure is working

In parallel, as part of a local pilot that takes a whole system, placebased approach, Sport England has identified 10 ‘conditions for change’ that an area can benchmark itself against. The results of that audit can be used to inform a plan to create conditions for improving health outcomes. By definition, this place-based approach has a much wider focus than just our sector, but it’s a great way to start the process. Within that context, we can consider how leisure can play a much needed part in improving population health and reducing inequalities.

UK Active and some of the larger operators are doing amazing work with MSK Hubs, while chair

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PHOTO: MIOVA The sector has a big part to play in improving population health, says King

Mike Farrar is successfully getting Integrated Care Boards around a table to help accelerate, among other things, what leisure can do to reduce waiting lists and improve the health of NHS workers. Other companies are contributing too, making it easier for operators and councils to make the transition – Good Boost for example.

Discover Momenta also has programmes related to diabetes prevention, cardiovascular disease and weight management already commissioned by the NHS and freely available to operators.

All over the country our leisure colleagues are doing some amazing things; they are ‘pivoting’! Now we must formally catalogue their efforts to create a library of best practice available to everyone, including our health partners.

Each should be assessed by an NHS-approved measure, so they have credibility and a type of quality mark. A job for UK Active to lead maybe?

Our leisure colleagues are doing some amazing things; they’re ‘pivoting’! Now we must formally catalogue their efforts
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aim is a population that’s healthy at every age
We remain in a cycle of low skill/ low pay that will resign the sector to not being credible enough to play a more impactful role, unless something is done


Having been involved in the pivot movement from the outset through our work in the Greater Manchester Pivot to Active Wellbeing Programme, I see three key things that still need to happen. Firstly, our workforce needs to be better supported, with a renewed focus from CIMSPA to professionalise the sector – as set out in its recent Workforce Strategy – and seek allied health professional status. Currently, despite what’s been put in place through the CIMSPA Local Skills Accountability Boards, there’s no properly resourced, credible framework being developed to map out the contribution our sector can make.

A greater focus on prevention will be key for the future

CIMSPA’s view is too narrow; it currently feels safer to stay in the ‘sport and physical activity’ lane than broaden the remit to include active wellbeing.

Secondly, we need to support and incentivise the operator market to continue to innovate and explore a greater focus on prevention. National guidance needs to be brought into line with innovative practices in partnering and procurement.

We remain in a cycle of low skill / low pay that will resign the sector to not being credible enough to play a more impactful role in physical activity, health and wellbeing. We won’t break that pattern unless there’s a national debate about what the sector’s role in prevention should be. My fear is

There is a pressing need to share pioneering approaches to long-term contracts, service level agreements and specifications, so we can move to the next level of alignment. This will require commissioning changes from local authorities, greater collaboration with Integrated Care Boards and ensuring facilities and services supporting active wellbeing are embedded in place-based working. Lastly, we must strengthen the alignment between place-based working, local delivery pilots and active wellbeing infrastructure. The former ‘leisure operator sector’ has moved on significantly, but we still need to learn how each part of the wider system can support their shared goal of a more active population through more focus on inactive populations. I’m confident Sport England will play a pivotal role in maximising the synergy and we and other progressive organisations will continue to drive innovation in this space.

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Helping communities to become strong, resilient and sustainable supports our ambition of healthier, safer, inclusive places that are led by residents. It’s incumbent on councils with responsibility for leisure assets to create the strategic landscape and culture to support the pivot to active wellbeing.

Malvern Hills District Council (MHDC) has made health and wellbeing a pillar within its corporate plan. Our key action is transforming our leisure assets into community wellbeing hubs that support residents to take control of their own physical, mental and financial wellbeing. We place strategic importance on connecting with other community assets to tackle health inequalities and strengthen communities. This further reinforces our commitment to resident-led approaches, as outlined in our 20year Connected Communities Strategy.

Equally important is collaboration. MHDC’s place-based Integrated Care System partnership is coordinated at district level, with agencies, including our leisure provider, working across the whole system to share data and identify need. The partnership has adopted the council’s key corporate action as one of its joint ‘pivot to wellbeing’ plan priorities, as well as three complimentary priorities:

n To support the expansion and growth of community hubs

n To help health and wellbeing services connect to each other and their communities

We’re making public money work better for communities

n To support communities enhance their own physical, mental and financial wellbeing.

“We’re evolving MHDC’s relationship with our leisure provider from that of a ‘client’ to a ‘relationship-builder’. This will better enable them to develop trusted, collaborative relationships with public and community sector partners that tackle health inequalities. The foundations of success for MHDC and our partners is alignment to the NHS Prevention Charter, the appliance of Keep it Local principles and being resident-led.

We’re making public money work better for communities with Place-Based Public Service Budgets and shifting towards more investment in prevention.

To quote Aretha Franklin, ‘sometimes, what you’re looking for is already there’.We’re on board and ready to improve population health and reduce inequalities.

Leisure assets must turn into community wellbeing hubs

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During the last 14 years we’ve secured £3.45m in grant funding to support active wellbeing programmes

Diane Friday

Active lifestyles programme manager

Mytime Active

At grassroots level, the pivot to active wellbeing is nothing new; there are examples of leisure actively supporting the NHS nationwide. Mytime Active has been developing community-based active wellbeing programmes since its inception in 2004 and in 2008, we started a Sport England-funded Active Ageing programme, called Primetime, that now offers over 100 activities a week to more than 2,500 members.

During the last 14 years we’ve secured £3.4m in grant funding to support active wellbeing programmes, and data from the Office of National Statistics shows our members have up to a 13 per cent higher wellbeing factor than general residents.

I’ve worked for Mytime Active since its inception. While health contracting and commissioning have changed hugely, the fact our team has worked together for so long gives a consistent approach and earns us a voice in conversations that don’t always include leisure or fitness operators. This is highlighted by our partnership with the Local Care Partnership, One Bromley – managing a Health Hub in a Bromley shopping centre, offering free Vital 5 lifestyle advice. We also partnered with England Golf and UK Active to launch Golf on Referral, the first ever researchbacked, medically-proven GP referral pathway for golf, which won England Golf’s 2019 Innovation Award.

Mytime Active now receives over 1300 referrals per year

The key to successfully working with healthcare is time, continuity of provision and sharing results. Our contracts to deliver HeartSmart and Fresh Start (our cardiac rehabilitation and exercise on referral programmes) have been running for around 25 years –there’s no quick fix, as relationship-building takes time.

Leisure’s focus should be creating pathways that integrate with healthcare teams to move patients’ recovery to community venues. For example, we’re partnering our exercise specialists with the cardiac nurse team at the Princess Royal University Hospital to deliver eight-week early exercise and education programmes. This enables us to support the transition from hospital back into the community for longer-term rehab. We’re working on reproducing this model for other conditions, and are also participating in the UK Active MSK Hubs pilot. Healthcare professionals from the Southeast London Integrated Care Board, public health nurses and physio groups have helped train our staff, which has the knock-on effect of improving these professionals’ confidence in our referral services.

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The sector itself has been pivoting for some time, boasting many examples of best practice and innovation, and delivering outstanding outcomes across the country. But we are on a learning journey, constantly challenging each other to drive continuous development, and the role the leisure sector can play in the wider health ecosystem has not yet been fully realised. Clarity of message, presentation of data and investment return potential are regular hot topics for colleagues in the sector as we consider our next steps in influencing beyond leisure.

Brimhams Active (BA) (LACTO), an incorporated health and wellbeing company, was established with a sole focus of challenging the conventional leisure model and delivering community health and wellbeing services that prioritise social value and commercial objectives in equal measure. The strategy and service design is simple – personalisation. Wellbeing is individualistic and if we truly want to make an impact then a recognition that one size doesn’t fit all is essential. Our Five Ways to Wellness model (movement, nutrition, mindset, connection, recovery) offers a bespoke service with movement at the core. Current place-based concepts are built on legacy, community sport and physical activity development approaches and funding initiatives. Taking advantage of a network of National Governing Bodies, Active Partnerships and local sports clubs allows leisure operators to provide community wellbeing services. Only when we collaborate with health partners and account for the specific capability and capacity of all component parts will we get true integration – this is the ‘pivot’. Further developments in facility design, flexible environments, sustainable funding streams, policy change and workforce professionalisation are needed to maintain the momentum.

Only when we collaborate with health partners will we get true integration –this is the
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‘pivot’ Wellbeing
a personalised

Working with the NHS requires a reframing of priorities, with investments directed towards enhancing accessibility, affordability and inclusivity

In an ideal world, leisure and healthcare would seamlessly intertwine, promoting physical fitness, combatting health conditions and promoting social inclusion; the reality of course is more complex.

As we strive for a pivot towards more health-centric approaches, we’re faced with challenges that necessitate robust partnerships and innovative solutions. At the heart of this pivot is the need for strong collaborations between leisure providers, the NHS, councils, charities and key stakeholders. Forging these partnerships is essential in bridging the gap and creating an ecosystem where prevention, treatment and rehabilitation converge.

For leisure centres to become more than recreation venues, we need to leave our traditional setting and go out into communities. Working effectively with the NHS and local authorities requires a

reframing of priorities and resource allocation, with investments directed towards enhancing accessibility, affordability and inclusivity.

Horizon Leisure has made a concerted effort to embed health promotion initiatives within the fabric of its communities. We have a shoppingmall-based Wellbeing Hub offering free health checks and interventions and exercise orientation through our Foundations Programme. The Hub also has a CommunityPod to take blood pressure, which feeds directly into local GPs’ databases.

The CommunityPod is part of NHS England’s Innovation for Healthcare Inequalities Programme, coordinated by Health Innovation Wessex in a joined-up approach with GP practices, Microtech, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, plus the Hampshire Public Health team.

Data tells us that 60 per cent of those tested so far have had high blood pressure. Experts at the Hub give people advice on reducing it and refer people for follow-on supported activities and education programmes.

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The leisure sector must take its work out into the community


This is less about leisure pivoting and more about better promotion of what we’re already doing and doing well. For that to be credible and listened to, it needs to be evidenced with data.

The whole industry is asking how we can work with health, but I don’t think we need to reinvent the wheel. Just give healthcare providers the data, show them how many people go through your interventions and demonstrate the positive change.

“There’s an expectation that, for us to be credible to healthcare, we have to become clinicians in our own right. This isn’t necessary. Leisure needs a fantastic service (check) that’s delivering tangible, proven results (check) and for healthcare to know about it. This we need to work on – it’s not that the quality of our services is poor, it’s our data and comms that are lacking.

At ReferAll we get to see the positive impact of leisure operators’ hard

work every day. What’s missing is the demonstration of this to the people that matter. If you’re a leisure trust providing a fantastic cardiac rehab programme, does your Primary Care Network know you exist, for example?

The sector must do more to promote its health impact results

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just give healthcare providers the data

The pace of collaboration with the NHS is accelerating. With more than 320 schemes managed on our platform, we’re actively exploring API integration with NHS systems to extract clinical data that meets the diverse needs of our customers, but in a meaningful language for NHS partners. It’s becoming increasingly common for local authorities to specify leisure management systems that integrate with us, highlighting the growing interest in open APIs and data sharing. Through collaborative partnerships, we integrate systems based on customer requests. This secure connection with software platforms allows leisure providers to showcase data with a comprehensive set of KPIs, reporting on what happens from the point of referral through the entire client journey. How can we move forward? Look at data, reach out to your local Integrated Care System or Primary Care Networks, make sure they know how to refer to you and make that referral is easy. For me, that promotion to the people that matter is what the pivot to health is all about.

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73 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024 SPONSORED
Effective coaching can enhance member satisfaction

Life lessons ____


When a hefty round of investment coincided with the pandemic, the CEO of Midtown Athletic Clubs feared the company – founded by his grandfather – would go down on his watch. He talks to Kath Hudson about the pressure to keep the business afl oat

Bar none, the toughest time I’ve ever had was going through COVID.

In 2017 we undertook a US$90m development of our flagship club in Chicago. The biggest risk we’d ever taken, it represented the start of a new vision for our company – a multi-year project, combining all of the experience and skills and knowledge I’d developed over my 35-year working life. We were in the thick of it when we had to close. I’m the third generation running a family business and before the pandemic, I felt at the apex of my career, but then was suddenly presented with the prospect of the business failing on my watch. It was personally devastating, because it crushed my dreams, emotionally devastating because I had to

74 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 TOUGH TIMES
Schwartz kept to his vision
I thought, if I’m going down, I’m going to burn all the way

lay people off – which went against everything I was trying to do. Then there was the element of failure and this being a family business. We were also too large to get any government support, so having been such a believer in the system, I felt very let down.

Unique situation

This was a unique set of circumstances and a unique situation. Previously, although we’d had various challenges and tough setbacks, I had always felt I could work through them and find solutions. But this was a case where we were told to close whether we liked it or not. I’m used to winning and have never felt so helpless. I made the very risky decision to keep investing in the new vision – I thought if I’m going down, I’m


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turned out to be
Midtown Athletics is a third generation-
run family business

going to burn all the way! I hoped the investment in creating state-of-the-art clubs would give us the opportunity to come back stronger once we were able to reopen and it’s easier to do renovations when there are no members around. We had to engage with bankers while having no revenue, but fortunately they agreed to lend us money for capital investment.

It was a Thelma and Louise-style, ‘drive off the cliff moment’ and the stress was incredible. Sleepless nights, putting on weight. I was on Zoom all day long. My wife and I were eating and drinking too much and not exercising enough. It was terrible.

Keep enough chips

I don’t remember the date we became cashflow positive again, but I personally didn’t turn the corner until the beginning of 2023. It wasn’t just about having my company back, it was about thriving again. Not all the clubs are back to where they were – some are way ahead and some are still behind – but 2023 was a record year for us in terms of revenues and profits. What did I learn from all this? That you can never have too much cash! As a privately-owned, family business, having a sound balance sheet had always been one of our core principles and that paid off in spades. When we were confronted with this

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Athletic and functional fitness is a core offer at Midtown
The Spa at Midtown in the Rochester club


existential threat, we were able to zero in on some of the things we needed to do because we didn’t have the choice to do otherwise. Nothing focuses the mind more effectively than the hangman’s noose!

Finishing the final two club renovations became an all consuming priority, as did taking the company’s IT platform from the stone age to the digital age.

Sense of worth

But I was disappointed in myself when I realised how much of my sense of worth was tied up in the success of the business. I have a wonderful family: a great wife, great kids, sisters, nieces,

I was disappointed in myself when I realised how much of my sense of worth was tied up in the success of the business

nephews, parents. I’m blessed in that sense and this experience made me realise I hadn’t appreciated it as much as I should have done.

My father, who died recently, was there supporting me every step of the way through the crisis. There were days when some people thought it would be better to just sell the business than reinvest, but there was no way that was happening with my dad and me. When we ran out of cash, both he and I put more money into the company. He’s a very tough act to live up to, but nothing years of therapy can’t cure!

There was a book which really helped me called The Biggest Bluff: How I learned to pay attention, take

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clubs are sited in eight US locations, including Rochester NY and Atlanta GA
I’m used to winning and have never felt so helpless

control and master the odds , by Maria Konnikova, about a psychology professor who became a professional poker player. She said to win you have to use your skill, keep your emotional control when you get a bad break and make sure you have enough chips in your stack to play the next round. I found it incredibly helpful to think in those terms. I also kept the Nietzsche quote in mind: ‘What does not kill me makes me stronger’, although my conclusion is that if I could have avoided the experience, I’d be a little bit weaker and still be okay! ● What does not kill me makes me stronger (German: Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich stärker) is part of aphorism number 8 from the ‘Maxims and Arrows’ section of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols (1888).

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PHOTO: All the clubs have a luxury fitout and feature high end fitness and lifestyle offerings

The flagship Midtown Club in Chicago underwent a US$90m development in 2017




Pilates is having a moment. Steph Eaves asks suppliers how they’re responding to the demand

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has seen a big demographic shift

Group reformer Pilates classes have grown in popularity

We’re providing operators with the support they need to create a group Reformer Pilates programme

Demand for Pilates is skyrocketing. One only needs to read the trade media or visit a show like FIBO to see how many brands are either launching new concepts based on the modality or integrating a Pilates offer into their existing schedules.

We’re Through Secondly,

order-to-install time and protect our customers from volatile international shipping issues. We’ve also appointed a business development manager on the ground to provide in-person support to our customers and to optimise the opportunity to address the increased number of incoming enquiries.

We’re responding in several ways. Firstly, by providing operators with the support they need to create a group Reformer Pilates programme that delivers an outstanding user experience and commercial success. Through instructor education, equipment and knowledge sharing, we’ve developed a comprehensive end-to-end solution that guides operators to success. Secondly, we’re strengthening our global ability to serve key territories. For example, in the UK, over the last 18 months we’ve established in-territory storage and distribution facilities to improve our

Attracting and retaining Pilates instructors is a challenge for the global fitness sector. Operators have no difficulty filling classes, the factor limiting growth is a lack of qualified instructors and the time it takes to train them to deliver Pilates classes. In direct response, we’ve developed a new education programme to up-skill instructors already teaching in the fitness setting. Our new Group Reformer programme is accessible and flexible without sacrificing the quality of Pilates movement. Some Pilates education has a reputation of being long, expensive, rigid, and esoteric. We are breaking down those barriers and providing operators with a means of providing valuable CPD and additional earning opportunities for their incumbent instructors.

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It’s not necessary to be a Pilates teacher to teach a reformer class

The MVe chair is ideal for small group classes in a reformer studio

Peak Pilates UK

DThe MVe Chair brings a new style of workout to mainstream fitness, adding further challenge to the traditional Pilates repertoire

apparatus to the reformer, using the same spring resistance for a super challenging core workout.

emand for reformer equipment has exploded since the pandemic. We are experiencing a shift in culture with consumers placing greater importance on their overall health. Sleep, relaxation and a focus on exercising for better posture and an overall feeling of wellbeing are key drivers. Stock management and keeping up with demand has been a critical part of our plan. We have increased stock, particularly in our Peak Pilates metal-line equipment and spare parts. We also have access to buffer stock in the European hub which has been a great support.

In addition to the range of Peak Pilates Reformers, we have recently introduced stock of the Peak Pilates versatile MVe Chair to the UK. The MVe Chair brings a new style of workout to mainstream fitness, adding further challenge to the traditional pilates repertoire. It’s a great complementary pilates

The MVe Chair is ideal for one-on-one training or small group classes in a reformer studio environment. Workouts can include advanced concepts relating to spring resistance, body awareness, movement dynamics and exercise complexity. We have seen a good level of interest from studios who are planning the next phase of development.

A recent installation saw a studio in Cambridgeshire offer chair classes as part of their reformer membership package with an 8-unit class offered on their weekly timetable. You don’t need to be a Pilates teacher to teach reformer workouts. Peak Pilates recognised the growing demand for dynamic group reformer workouts and the challenges for operators in finding a team of trained Pilates teachers to deliver Reformer workouts. For this reason, Peak developed FitCore, a two-day education programme that has made teaching reformer workouts accessible and affordable to the wider fitness industry.

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Nuforma allows individuals to work out confidently on their own, as they follow the classes on the built-in monitor

There has been a huge shift in the demographics of people doing reformer Pilates. It was originally reserved for dancers and for oneto-one rehab. It is now being used by a much more diverse population, as an incredibly effective strength and conditioning activity.

We launched the Nuforma at FIBO to phenomenal feedback. I took the traditional Pilates reformer and built upon the best of its features and functions, working on its limitations and adding increased functionality. The Nuforma features: an integrated weights ad jumpboard, a wider, non-slip platform to give greater comfort to larger users, a variety of resistance points, a built-in monitor offering 100s of classes for group or self workouts, and the ability to fold it against the wall for efficient use of space.

My goal with the Nuforma is to remove all the barriers that previously restricted the audience and created capacity and operational issues. Things like availability of instructors, times of access or simply the intimidation factor of the equipment itself.

I designed the Nuforma for instructors to be able to easily deliver effective large group sessions at all levels of ability. It also allows individuals to work out confidently on their own, as they follow the quality-controlled classes that are displayed on the built-in monitor.

Our Nuform raining school gives students practical skills and experiential training to fast track quality instructors, giving them the confidence to hit the ground running and adapt to teach anybody that comes to class.

Nuforma folds up against the wall to use studio space efficiently
Kellard wanted to remove participation barriers
Operators should refrain from designing their own training; a quick CPD course won’t cut it

James Anderson Physical

Reformer Pilates has become part of everyday fitness, strength and conditioning training and group exercise timetables, enjoying a far broader user profile than ever before.

No longer the exclusive domain of rehab and older clientele, it has moved into new verticals, from boutiques to full-service health clubs.

Growth is significant in the US, Europe and notably the UK, where Merrithew partners with Physical. A designated UK warehouse ensures quick lead times and good stock availability to meet the growing demand from commercial gyms.

We’re seeing a growing number of mainstream health clubs looking to offer reformer Pilates, but not all have the space for a dedicated studio. Storage is therefore key, and Merrithew has led the way in creating Pilates reformers that, in spite of their size, can be stowed away to free up space for other classes. All Merrithew SPX Max series reformers are stackable up to five reformers high; the SPX Max with vertical stand can also be stored vertically.

How are we responding? In terms of the equipment – beyond a new jet black look and feel – we don’t really need to: the springs on Pilates

reformers mean you can make each movement significantly easier or harder depending on the exerciser, and as always with Pilates, there are options to progress each exercise.

We also already supply equipment such as Cardio Tramps to add a cardio element. The most important thing is to ensure instructors are fully qualified and able to adapt to all member profiles and that, if clubs do innovate in their programming, it’s done by a certified, experienced instructor.

Operators should refrain from designing their own training; a quick CPD course won’t cut it. The quickest way to achieve a trusted qualification is to do Merrithew’s Intensive Reformer course, open to anyone with an anatomy background – a sports science degree, for example.

Comprising 50 hours in person followed by 100 hours’ work experience and an exam, you can be confident all instructors will meet a high, globallyrecognised standard. To meet demand, Merrithew has expanded its network of training centres across the UK, and in collaboration with Physical can also deliver on-site training at fitness centres.

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Merrithew’s SPX Max model can be stored up to five reformers high

We've been steadily ramping up our production capacity for some time. Our products are mostly handcrafted, so we're fortunate enough to have anticipated this growth and trained more highly skilled staff. It feels like we're just getting started, so we're preparing for exponential growth in the coming years. We're helping our global partners tap into this growth as well – we've developed new marketing assets to support their business, carefully monitor insights to catch any trend early, and have a highly filled innovation funnel, as the type of product in demand is also changing.

specifically aimed at more beginner or intermediate instructors and practitioners, which also will be slightly more space-efficient. This will help more people start reformer Pilates, by lowering the barrier to entry. The risk we see is that with the fast-track Pilates is on, there are cheap and quick options to get a form of certification – sometimes even a free online education course with the purchase of more than one reformer. This could be detrimental to the industry, as a bad experience tends to multiply faster than a good one. Our quality education offer is always developing – both in geography and course types –which will help to create more qualified instructors.

We see group classes as a way into Pilates; the majority of people doing group classes will supplement with classical, individual training, because they have seen the positive effects. There has also been a surge in buy-in from physical rehabilitation specialists, referring their clients to Pilates in their rehabilitation journey. Our reformer has taken us years to create and perfect, but we're always improving it further. In the very near future we'll launch a second version

We see group classes as a way into Pilates; the majority of people doing group classes will supplement with individual training
The barriers to Pilates entry have lowered

Pilates has been on an upward trajectory for the past few decades, but in recent years the popularity has really surged. There are plenty of factors as to why, but widespread understanding of the benefits and an increase in accessibility are two of the reasons.

Influencers openly sharing the benefits have not only increased visibility but also lent a certain aspirational quality, encouraging people to explore Pilates and its potential.

In the last few years we’ve introduced new apparatus based on market trends, including a versatile light commercial Reformer, designed to cater to both home studios and commercial setups for light usage which brings an optimal balance of quality and performance without sacrificing space. We’ve also launched a style-oriented Pilates Reformer, designed and tailored for studios prioritising aesthetic appeal. We’ve also taken steps to keep pace with its growing popularity. Being a UK brand sets us apart, and we offer direct install and delivery to most of the mainland UK. In response to increased demand – we’ve expanded our team, increased warehousing and capacity.

We’ve introduced a versatile light reformer, to cater to both home studios and commercial setups

Pilates, and use of the reformer, has taken on an aspirational aspect

Influencers sharing the benefits of Pilates have aided its growth


The Elevate trade show and conference comes to London next month. HCM gives the low down on what to look out for

Welcome to Elevate 2024

Since its inception seven years ago, Elevate has served as a catalyst, uniting the worlds of physical activity, fitness and sports therapy in a collective pursuit of national health and wellbeing.

There’s been a notable surge in collaboration around education and standards, geared towards health, reflecting a concerted effort to support this agenda. This increasingly connected approach shows the sector’s deepening understanding of its importance and power.

Elevate is the result of collaboration between sponsors, partners,

exhibitors and speakers and their contributions have been instrumental in shaping and delivering this pivotal event.

Elevate remains the arena of opportunity, showcasing ideas, technology, and innovation from leading suppliers and thought leaders. We remain committed to accessibility, keeping registration free for professionals eager to connect, learn, be inspired and power the future of physical activity.

88 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
12-13 JUNE 2024 | EXCEL | LONDON

Dates: 12-13 June 2024

Venue: Excel, London halls 5-8

Train station: Custom House More: www.elevatearena.com

89 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024 The event will showcase ideas, technology and innovation

The newly-named Debate stage will be the hub for tackling industry topics

What is Elevate?

Elevate is the UK trade show dedicated to physical activity, fitness, and sports therapy. Over the course of two days, more than 7,000 decision-makers representing gyms, studios, sport clubs, sports therapy practices, universities, personal training, schools and private practices convene with over 200 suppliers. These suppliers showcase thousands of product innovations crafted to “elevate” the nation’s physical activity levels.

The event promises not only access to a vast array of cutting-edge products but also unparalleled networking opportunities and invaluable insights from over 200 expert speakers. This extraordinary event is made possible through the generous support of over 50 industry associations, media partners and NGOs.

The programme

For 2024, four key theatres return with refreshed identities and Elevate’s commitment to providing free education remains constant, maintaining Elevate as the most inclusive platform in the sector.


Formerly the Thought Leaders Conference, the newly-named Debate stage will be the hub for tackling the industry’s most pressing topics. It will kick off with EuropeActive chair David Stalker, UKActive CEO, Huw Edwards and CIMSPA CEO, Tara Dillon asking if the picture of physical activity has changed.

This conference will host discussions on women in sport, the future of leadership, the pivot to health, the relationship between physical activity and obesity, as well as looking at both mental health and sustainability.


Previously known as The Business of Physical Activity, Generate will focus on the business of fitness, including retention strategies, AI integration, social media best practice, technology utilisation, staff recruitment and upskilling, how to use data and modernising facilities.


Formerly Activating the Nation, Collaborate will emphasise community engagement and health promotion. Topics will include the use of gamification, the importance of inclusive language, integrating fitness into healthcare, supporting those with long-term health conditions and mental health advocacy.

CIMSPA CEO Tara Dillon will be a key speaker at the event EuropeActive chair David Stalker will take to the Debate stage


Previously Future Performance and Wellbeing, Accelerate will zoom in on optimising personal performance and wellbeing, exploring long-term behaviour change, sleep optimisation, menopause management, adaptogens, biomechanics, injury recovery, resilience and mindset development.

External Content

In addition to our four Elevate-created theatres, we have a number of commercially-sponsored standalone theatres that are free to attend.

Kidztivity will share engaging content to support children and young people in being active.

Active Aquatics – presented by RLSS, Swim England and STA – will dive into aquatic fitness.

Third Space will return with bespoke training for PTs and PT businesses.

Heart Centred Business will help businesses increase revenues and smart marketing.

Technogym will showcase the latest wellbeing trends.

Quoox education will allow attendees to explore its software and solutions and join discussions on client challenges.

“A melting pot of industries bring together the best of each to push the sector forwards. Elevate is a dynamic event hosted and supported by experts for all involved in the health and wellbeing field” Kirsten Wing, sports therapist

The Include Summit

New for 2024 Elevate is proud to announce a strategic partnership with the Include Summit, a conference committed to promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in sport.

“By bringing a flavour of our content to Elevate, we hope to offer EDI awareness to attendees and to encourage them to come and join us at the Include Summit later this year in London,” says Include Summit co-founder, Gurmej Pawar.

Through this collaboration, Elevate will integrate four exclusive sessions curated by Include Summit into its educational offerings.

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are due to be in attendance PHOTO: ELEVATE
than 7,000 decision-makers


What can you expect to discover at this year’s Elevate? HCM highlights a selection of the key exhibitors

■ Activesync

Activesync is a mobile app for creating vibrant communities. Through the app, users can find and join communities or create their group from scratch. Fitness and sports enthusiasts can find and join sports activities, connect with fellow enthusiasts and book venues.

■ Airius

Airius is committed to saving energy, cutting costs, improving comfort and reducing carbon for clients. On average its systems save 35 per cent on heating and cooling costs. Airius delivers destratification fan technology, with a range suited to indoor leisure applications, including indoor swimming pools. www.airius.co.uk

■ Airspace

The company designs and manufactures inflatables for swimming pools, theme parks, aqua parks, aqua runs, soft play areas and trampoline parks. www.airspacesolutions.com

■ Align-Pilates

Align-Pilates will showcase a selection of its commercial and home Reformers. The company produces equipment that offers affordability and a strong ‘performance/price ratio’. www.align-pilates.com

■ Alliance Leisure

Leisure development specialist, Alliance Leisure, is celebrating 25 years of working with local authorities and operators to

develop engaging place-based active environments. The company has delivered more than 250 projects, with many more in development. www.allianceleisure.co.uk

■ Alternative Systems Protection

ASP specialises in the design, supply, and installation of complete security systems and also offers service and maintenance contracts. alternativesystemsprotection.co.uk

■ AngelEye

AngelEye designs and develops video monitoring solutions tailored to aquatic facilities, residential swimming pools and waterparks. The technology, powered by AI, provides real-time monitoring, drowning detection, and alerts, enabling a prompt response to dangerous situations. www.angeleye.tech

■ Atro Pilates

Atro Pilates will feature three key products: the Pilates Reformer, made from beech and featuring an adjustable eight-wheel system; the Ladder Barrel for core stabilisation and strength exercises with its two-part design; and the Pilates Chair that can be used for over 120 exercises and is suitable for

Alliance Leisure will be showing at Elevate (Photo: Chard Leisure Centre)

Balanced Body – which holds 43 patents – will be showing its range of equipment

home use with easily replaceable springs for varied resistance. www.atropilates.com

■ Balanced Body

Balanced Body delivers Pilates equipment and education. Founded over 47 years ago, the company hold 43 patents and has a network of 400 Educators and over 30,000 certified teachers worldwide. It works with clients to develop Pilates equipment and education programmes that best meet the needs of their members. www.pilates.com

■ BlazePod

The BlazePod reaction training platform uses small pods that light up to create visual cues for movement, controlled by an app. Tapping the lights out improves response times and pods can be used to create motivational exercises, decision-making drills, leaderboarddriven competitions and professional assessments for clients and athletes. www.blazepod.eu

■ Box 12

The licensable, in-club offering delivers a functional fitness and boxing workout using Myzone to optimise training and optimise under-used space within the gym. www.box12fitness.com

■ Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey offers cold water immersion with filtration that meets UKCA, PWTAG, and SPATA standards. Specialising in custom plunges, it caters to various needs, from thermal suites to plug-and-play. All products are designed and built in Britain. www.brassmonkey.co.uk

■ CET Cryospas

CET manufactures therapeutic spas and ice baths for clients including Manchester City, Wimbledon (Tennis) and Wembley Stadium, while gyms offer CryoSpa ice bath recovery on a pay-per-use basis. The baths use salt water for therapeutic and infection control reasons and

“Elevate is the only event that ties together fitness, performance and sports therapy, making it a critical event for me and the Third Space team” Rob Beale, fitness director, Third Space

comply with health and safety requirements for commercial use. www.cetcryospas.com

■ CloudGym

This gym management software offers a range of functionality running off a dashboard, including member management CRM, sales pipeline management, live streaming and an on-demand workout library, access control integration and online payments. Also included are a custom website, online scheduling and digital marketing functionality. https://cloudgym.com

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■ Clubbercise

Clubbercise offers cardio workouts Clubbercise and Clubbercise Combat+Tone. Catering to adults, classes mix dance with punching, kicking and more in a darkened room lit by glow sticks and set to a playlist of club anthems. Also available for kids, teens and families, Clubbercise attracts those typically hesitant about fitness. www.clubbercise.fitness

■ ClubRight

This member management software offers bookings and payment functionality, sales and marketing and 24/7 access control, as well as member onboarding, class scheduling, billing, and reporting. The platform can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses. www.clubright.co.uk

■ Clubwise

ClubWise club management system is an integrated suite of services including staff and

member management, booking and scheduling, reporting, access control and prospect management. It also has a member app and syncs with heart rate and body composition analysis. www.clubwise.com

■ Creative Fitness Marketing

CFM fitness consultants work on-site for health and fitness clubs doing the marketing and selling to generate between 150 to 400 new members over a period of six weeks. The company bears the financial risk of the campaign and doesn’t charge for its services – only charging a commission on each new direct debit member. www.uk.cfm.net

■ Echelon

Echelon will be showing its cardio and smart strength equipment – including treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, stairmills and rowers – and also its mirrors. The

“Elevate is the most important event of the year for the UK fitness industry - it’ll be great to see all the latest innovations in one place” Michelle Dand, head of fitness product and programming, David Lloyd Clubs

equipment combines technology with performance, as well as providing data-driven insights to enable users to track their progress. www.echelonfit.uk

■ Evolt

The Evolt 360 Body Composition Analyzer uses a 60-second scan to provide data about the body through more than 40 measurements, while the Evolt Active App tracks body composition, macronutrient profiling and healthy lifestyle

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Echelon will exhibit its smart strength and cardio products

scoring to deliver individualised supplement recommendation. www.evolt360.com

■ EZFacility

EZFacility is showcasing its web-based member management and reporting software which enables clubs to manage trainers, recurring club memberships and point-of-sale transactions, as well as giving access to financial reporting and web-based selfservice functionality which enables members to purchase packages and schedule sessions. www.ezfacility.co.uk

Fired Up

The company does AV supply, design and programming to enable operators to take advantage of the latest immersive technology to create customer engagement. It also delivers custom installations to create interactive experiences. www.fireduptech.co.uk

■ Freemotion

The company supplies interactive, connected, commercial cardio equipment powered by iFit, including fitness bikes, treadmills and a cross trainer. The company’s strength range includes six pieces of equipment, while Fusion cable concept has been designed for team training. www.freemotionfitness.com

■ FutureFit

Offering training to upskill fitness staff and bespoke workforce learning and development, Future Fit for Business works to codesign solutions tailored to meet its clients’ needs, challenges, and aspirations. Whether health and fitness clubs require a digital learning management system, an accessible library of microlearning or consultancy to reinvigorate their business, Future Fit is able to deliver tangible results. www.futurefit.co.uk

“Elevate is an uplifting experience re-affirming the activity, leisure, fitness, exercise and sport sector’s importance in enabling people to live as well as possible for as long as possible”

Liz Murray, Valley Leisure

■ Gladstone

Gladstone’s leisure management software is used in leisure centres, universities and health clubs across the UK and Ireland, offering online joining and booking, streamlining administration and helping identify trends in data via reporting solutions. The company has 30,000 licensed users. www.gladstonesoftware.com

■ Go Cardless

Go Cardless enables operators to collect instant, one-off payments, automated, recurring payments or payments due against invoices. Without chasing or expensive fees. www.gocardless.com

■ Gym Flooring

The company offers a supply and install, supply-only, or install-only service for gyms, health clubs and sports halls. Flooring schemes can be designed to incorporate special elements to customers’ requirements. www.gymflooring.co.uk

■ Gym 80

Founded in 1980, Gym80 strength equipment is made in Germany and available customised. The range includes plate and pin machines and an athletic range, as well as benches and accessories. The company is part of RSG Group and is used in all its clubs. www.gym80.co.uk

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Hydrohex offers virtual pool-based classes for clubs PHOTO:

■ GymGear

GymGear is unveiling its Max HIIT cardio range featuring the Row Max, Ski Max, and Bike Max products. Designed to revolutionise HIIT workouts, these machines integrate to create a HIIT circuit. www.gymgear.com

■ Healthcheck Services

The company offers health kiosks on a range of contracts, including lease and outright purchase, to enable operators to offer health assessments to members. www.healthcheckservices.co.uk

■ Hydrohex

Hydrohex revolutionises aqua fitness for everyone. Its virtual pool-based classes deliver non-stop action, reduce cancellations and optimise the potential of swimming pools. Hydrohex welcomes a diverse crowd, from youths to fitness enthusiasts, without sidelining senior attendees. www.hydrohex.com

■ InBody

InBody provides medically-certified body composition products and blood pressure monitors for the medical and health and fitness industry. Analyses are produced using eight-point tactile electrodes and the company now features in over 5,000 independent research studies, being sold in over 110 countries. www.uk.inbody.com

■ Indigo Fitness

The gym fit-out specialists specialise in creating intelligent training spaces for health and fitness facilities and the design and manufacture of bespoke training equipment. www.indigofitness.com

■ JP Lennard

The company supplies essentials for pools, leisure centres, spas and health and fitness, including everything from sports equipment and cleaning solutions to lockers and swimsuits. The JP

Lennard Essentials catalogue lists thousands of items to order. www.jplennard.com

■ JK Wellness

JK Group will be exhibiting Wellsystem and Recharge, which provide touchless massage and light therapy treatments, adding value to fitness, sports, health clubs, and wellness facilities without needing trained staff. www.wellsystem.com

■ Johnson Reed

Fitness finance from Johnson Reed offers gym owners a way to upgrade equipment without tapping into cash reserves, freeing up working capital for other investments. With tax benefits and payments covering all costs, financing starting at £5,000. www.johnsonreed.co.uk

■ Jordan Fitness

Jordan delivers strength and functional fitness equipment, gym flooring, benches, rigs

Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 96
InBody’s body composition systems will be on show
“Elevate provides the ideal platform to share, learn and educate, catalysing the transformation from leisure to health and wellbeing”
Rachel Stokes, ReferAll

and racks, as well as offering gym design and install and custom equipment design www.jordanfitness.com

■ Keepme.ai

Keepme is an AI-powered customer engagement platform designed to help health clubs unlock the revenue potential of their existing data to improve retention and return rate. www.keepme.ai

■ Layrd Design

Layrd Design has launched a gym design package that simplifies the design process with a fixed price and sets outcomes. Elevate visitors can pre-book 20-minute taster sessions and 20-minute slots with its gym design expert to explore the overall flow and design intent of their facility. www.layrddesign.co.uk

■ Legend by Xplor Legend delivers software, embedded membership payments and more on one platform for operators including leisure trusts, leisure management companies, local authorities, and academic institutions. www.legendware.co.uk

■ Leisure Energy

Leisure Energy is an energy consultancy and principal contractor, that specialises in identifying and delivering energy and sustainability solutions through to full decarbonisation to the

sector, with a mission to lead the transition to Net Zero. www.leisure-energy.com

■ Life Fitness

Life Fitness creates fitness solutions for facilities and exercisers, while building partnerships with operators. The company has a wide range of cardio, strength and group training products that can be configured to offer a wide range of gymfloor layouts. www.lifefitness.com

■ MyCleaners

Specialising in leisure area and spa centre maintenance, MyCleaners aims to deliver spotless environments free from residue buildup and lingering odours, and impeccable hygiene standards for shower and restroom areas.


■ MyFitApp

The MyFitApp team is dedicated to helping fitness and wellness facilities transform the member experience. They will demo their customisable, all-in-one app to help leisure centres and gyms realise their potential by strengthening their brand, retaining members and acquiring new ones. www.myfitapp.com

■ Myzone

Myzone is a hardware, software and wearable platform that supports everyone in being more physically active, building a community and creating positive behaviour change. Through an interchangeable heart rate tracker, every member's effort, heart rate and calories burned are monitored via the Myzone app or a live screen. Along with social elements and challenges within the app, this real-time feedback provides insight on the physical activity of every individual, whether they’re in the gym, outdoors, or at home. www.myzone.org

■ Orbit4

Orbit4 is a software solution used to manage fitness facilities and includes an asset management system with a dashboard showing real-time date ticket manager data and an asset register. It enables operators to optimise their assets and allocate investment optimally. Orbit 4 is used by operators such as Third Space, JD Gyms and Anytime Fitness. www.orbit4.org

■ Origin Fitness

Origin Fitness is showcasing its range of fitness equipment,

Legend software offers embedded membership payments PHOTO: XPLOR

including the elite and performance range, alongside free weights and accessories. From UK-wide chains such as The Gym Group and David Lloyd Leisure to more modest PT studios, Origin’s talent lies in designing spaces that work for operators and their customers. www.originfitness.com

■ Perfect Gym

Perfect Gym software is available for a wide range of facility types, from enterprise to independents,

“Elevate combines wider aspects of activity and therapy rather than just fitness. I’m looking forward to attending the show again and meeting the diverse group of people it attracts.”

Chris Scragg, director of wellbeing, Nu eld Health

while comprehensive functionality takes in everything from bookings to point of sale and CRM to kiosks. www.perfectgym.com

■ Physical

The company is a one-stop-shop for over 1,900 gym floor fitness products, ranging from commercial strength to studio equipment, functional training to mind-body, flooring to combat to cardio and more. It also offers a Physicalbranded range, complemented by partnerships with specialists such as BOSU, ViPR, Merrithew, Ecore Athletic and ZIVA. www.physicalcompany.co.uk

■ Poolview

Poolview Plus with Iris software is a Computer Vision Drowning Detection System which reads images from underwater cameras and alerts when a swimmer is getting into difficulty by triggering a poolside alarm. www.poolview.co.uk

■ Precision Sports Technology

KinetikIQ is a software platform for real-time feedback and analysis to reduce risk of injury, maximise performance and increase participation in strength and conditioning and physiotherapy. www.precisionsportstech.com

■ Precor

Precor and EGym are launching Smart Cardio, which combines EGym’s advanced fitness software with Precor’s technology, modular design and media experience, including a wide range of workouts to keep exercisers motivated and engaged. www.precor.co.uk

■ Pulse Fitness

Pulse Fitness is a fitness kit supplier that researches, designs, develops and builds equipment in the UK, offering customised solutions to health clubs across the sector from its portfolio of over 450 pieces

Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 98
Precor and EGym will launch
Smart Cardio

Sheet rubber floor coverings.

Rubber gym tiles in a variety of finishes.

High density polyethylene sports turf.

Recycled rubber and agglomerated cork underlays.

Surfaces for sports and exercise areas.

The UK’s exclusive distributor of SPORTEC® products
T: +44 (0) 1706 260 220 E: Sales@TVS-Group.co.uk www.TVS-Group.co.uk CONTACT US NOW
Conference topics will include women in sport, the pivot to health and the obesity epidemic

of fitness equipment. The Pulse Fitness TRAKK system offers fitness tracking and programming while integrating with existing software to drive retention. www.pulsefitness.com

■ Pure Jump

Pure Jump’s Trampoline Fitness

Studio blends boutique style with rebound classes. The space includes mini trampolines adaptable for different sessions, including cardio, Pilates, and strength training. Ideal for those with injuries or

health concerns, Pure Jump offers a fresh approach to exercise. www.purejump.ch

■ Quoox

Quoox Ultimate software paired with Gym Mastery business services offers clubs a solution for optimising their business. Quoox Ultimate handles software needs – from marketing to member management – while Gym Mastery offers business coaching and strategies to streamline operations and boosting growth. www.quoox.com

“The accumulation of exhibitors, products and talks make this an important event for discovering innovations and discussing the state of the industry with others that care deeply about the health and happiness of the UK population. It’s a time to come together, share best practice and celebrate the good work taking place”

Ben Stancombe, head of fitness and health product, Fusion Lifestyle

■ React Fitness

React Fitness will introduce its Booty Builder V8, a compact hip thrust machine designed for optimal glute training. It's suitable for all fitness levels and is able to fit into a limited amount of space, as well as supporting optional resistance bands for enhanced workouts. It has adjustable cushioning and a 160kg weight stack. www.react-fitness.com

■ Salto

Gantner, which is now part of Salto, develops smart identification, access, cashless payments, and locker solutions that automate and digitise business processes to maximise organisational efficiency and security. www.saltosystems.com

■ Stronger Wellness

British company Stronger Wellness aims to kill boring gym spaces by bringing together products

Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 100


and people to create workout spaces with a strong identity. It also offers tailored gym design and gym flooring via carbon neutral business operations. www.strongerwellness.com

■ Seca

The Seca Tru delivers medically-validated body composition analysis, enabling personalised programmes to drive client engagement. The tool provides insight into muscle and fat mass, and opens up revenue streams by enabling operators to offer health assessments that motivate members with visible progress and introduce premium services for upgraded memberships. www.seca.com

■ Servicesport

Service Sport (UK) Limited is a gym equipment servicing, repair and maintenance provider working

to prolong the life of commercial gym equipment from a wide range of suppliers. Customers include Nuffield Health, Anytime Fitness and David Lloyd Leisure. The business has grown to include gym upholstery repairs, the refresh of used equipment, the installation of new gym equipment, the supply of parts, custom-branded clothing, 3D printing and CNC machining. www.servicesport.com

■ Sissel

Sissel will be showcasing its Spinefitter product that can loosen the shoulder-neck and back. The Spinefitter’s parallel spherical shapes provide mechanical stimuli to the muscles on both sides of the spine, resulting in an intensive massage. Specially-developed exercises and movement sequences intensify and channel this perception so problem zones can be addressed selectively. www.sisseluk.com

■ Sunlighten

Sunlighten delivers personalised infrared light treatment. The company says its patented SoloCarbon sauna heater rejuvenates the body by delivering high doses of infrared energy at a cellular level. www.sunlighten.com

■ Supplement Needs

Supplement Needs brings health and sports performance supplements to market. With over 30 formulations designed by Dr Dean St Mart, the company’s brands include Sleep Stack, Heart Stack, Thyroid Stack, Fertility+ and PMS+. www.supplementneeds.co.uk

■ Synergy Dance

Synergy Dance offers a range of dance, yoga, wellbeing and fitness activities, both in person and online, for children, teens, adults and seniors. Packages are

101 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024
will be four Elevate-curated eductional stages

suitable for leisure centres, health and fitness clubs, universities, schools, corporates, care homes, local councils, trusts, charities and medical/NHS referrals. www.synergydance.co.uk

■ Taylor Made Designs

Taylor Made Designs has been making uniforms and merchandise since 1993, providing a 'one-stop' source for staff uniforms and workwear and supplying 'endto-end' uniform management services for some of the largest companies in sector. www.taylormadedesigns.co.uk

■ Technogym

The company offers all types of commercial gym equipment and support for every setting, serving 80,000 facilities around the world with its connected equipment creating bespoke experiences for

members. It recently launched Checkup, an assessment station with AI personalisation to complement its equipment lines. www.technogym.com

■ TVS Group

Established in 2009 as a specialist supplier of noise and vibration solutions, The TVS Group has four divisions; TVS Sports Surfaces, TVS Gym Flooring, TVS Play Surfaces and TVS Acoustics. The business has a portfolio of products and a presence in international markets. It focuses on supplying best-inclass materials and shaping reliable and trustworthy partnerships. www.tvs-group.co.uk

■ W2Fitness

W2Fitness’s range of sportswear has been designed to enhance performance through variations of attire that support athletes before,

during and after physical activity. www.w2fitt.co.uk

■ XN Leisure

Xn Leisure provides leisure management software to help streamline operations and provide exceptional customer journeys for booking, ticketing, membership sales and management. www.xnleisure.com

■ Xplor Gym

Xplor Gym will showcase its all-inone gym management software, that includes embedded payments and integrated access control, making running a gym less admin-based. The software enables owners and operators to save time and grow profitability. With Xplor Gym, businesses get continuous innovation and a UK-based team passionate about helping clubs succeed. www.xplortechnologies.com

Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024 102
Technogym will deliver educational sessions at Elevate


For more insight, or to get in touch with the companies featured, visit www.fitness-kit.net and type in their keyword

Product innovation

Steph Eaves rounds up the latest health, fitness and wellness kit

Portable device from Hyperice delivers on-the-go muscle recovery, says Anthony Katz

Hyperice recently introduced its newest product: the Normatec Lower Legs. The portable, dynamic air massage device offers fully customisable on-the-go muscle recovery

“The concept behind Normatec Lower Legs was to bring the benefits of our technology to a wider audience”

with seven levels of massage accessible via Bluetooth controls on the Hyperice app.

The Normatec Lower Legs are designed for the targeted recovery of calf muscles, which play an important role in the circulatory system. Hyperice claims that by enhancing oxygenated haemoglobin levels critical for overall oxygen transport, the device minimises muscle fatigue, and soreness, and increases range of motion.

Key features include the elimination of separate units and hoses, seven levels of targeted pressure, three zones of overlapping 360-degree compression, and HyperSync technology.

‘Leverage Squat Machine facilitates deeper squats’ says Skelcore’s Jeremy Buendia

Skelcore, a Miami-based fi tness equipment manufacturer, has announced its newest release: the Leverage Squat Machine. The new equipment is designed to enhance the range of motion for squats and lunges without

● The model is also suitable for shoulder and calf raises

placing unnecessary stress on the lower back and knees. Skelcore claims the compact machine provides an effective way to target key lower body muscles, while minimising the back and knee strain that is commonly associated with traditional barbell squats.

An adjustable platform accommodates users with ankle mobility issues, and oversized padding ensures greater comfort while using the machine, even at extreme loading.

Four-times Mr Olympia champion and Skelcore product design team member Jeremy Buendia said: “If you have back

The portable device weighs 1.2lbs, off ers up to three hours of battery life and is TSA-approved for carry-on travel.

fitness-kit.net KEYWORDS


“If you have back problems or knee pain, this is the leg machine for you”

Jeremy Buendia

problems or knee pain, this is the leg machine for you. It puts virtually no stress on the lower back or knees and is versatile enough to perform a single squat or lunge.”

Buendia explained that the machine facilitates deeper squats to promote optimal leg growth and long term strength development.

The Leverage Squat Machine can also be used for shoulder raises and standing calf raises.

fitness-kit.net KEYWORDS


● Erling Haaland is Hyperice brand ambassador

Skillup targets the entire body with focus on upper body muscles

Technogym has released Skillup, an ergometer designed to target the entire body, with a focus on the muscle groups of the upper back, chest and arms, by simulating the actions of cross country skiing.

“Skillup allows users to access content through the Technnogym app” Nerio Alessandri

● Skillup is connected to the Technogym Ecosystem

Dual-resistance Multidrive

Technology allows the machine to combine a cardio workout with a power workout, while a functional, barrier-free design allows Skillup to fit into any space and layout, as well as ensuring easy access for the user. The display is self-powered by user movement via the use of a rechargeable, non-disposable battery, to limit maintenance.

We’re here to support gyms in their race towards Net Zero, says Energym’s Will Flint

Energym’s flagship product, the RE:GEN Studio, is an indoor bike that captures the energy from workouts and converts it into clean, usable power.

In the gym, human power is harnessed in an Energy Storage System and fed into the building. An installation with 40 RE:GEN bikes and five daily classes can

generate enough clean electricity to light 80 homes per day. In the home, this energy is stored in the OHM, a 100Wh portable energy capsule. One full charge of the OHM on the RE:GEN can fully charge 11 iPhones or 2.5 laptops.

Will Flint, CEO of Energym, said: “The RE:GEN has already pedalled its way to fame as an

Connected to the Technogym Ecosystem, Skillup allows users to access content through the Technogym app – including a variety of workouts – and the ability to track and display results to monitor progress.

Skillup also integrates with the Teambeats training solution.

“The RE:GEN has already pedalled its way to fame as an innovative fitness bike”

Will Flint Technogym fitness-kit.net keywords

innovative fitness bike and we’re just warming up. We’re here to support gyms in their race towards Net Zero, providing advice and solutions to reduce their carbon footprint, and costs.

“Combined with our ecosystem of products which are designed to redefine user experience, including our AIpowered immersive software, we’re creating experiences that inspire a global movement of RE:BELS who exercise for the good of themselves, and the benefit of our planet.”

Energym fitness-kit.net keywords

105 ©Cybertrek 2024 Issue 4 2024
● The bike captures human-powered energy


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DIRECTORY FLOORING www.tvs-group.co.uk Contact us now: Office: +44 (0) 1706 260 220 Email: Sales@TVS-Group.co.uk Gym Flooring & Acoustic Solutions www.TVS-Group.co.uk www.safespacelockers.co.uk SUPPLIERS OF HIGH QUALITY CHANGING ROOM SOLUTIONS FOR THE FITNESS AND LEISURE INDUSTRY Contact us today for more information T: 0203 651 1500 E: info@safespacelockers.co.uk w: safespacelockers.co.uk » Lockers, benches, padlocks and cubicles » Changing room design » Consultation services » Locker servicing and maintenance » Financial solutions Official distributor of SUITMATE® Swimsuit Water Extractor in England, Scotland and Wales LOCKERS & INTERIORS Tel +44 (0)1803 555885 Email sales@crownsportslockers.co.uk www.crownsportslockers.co.uk LOCKERS & INTERIORS LOCKERS & INTERIORS www.fitlockers.co.uk FITLOCKERS Thinking beyond standard storage CONTACT US m k K Turnkey capability Styles and FITTINGS FOR EVERY setting CODE OR KEY SECURITY Sales@fitlockers.co.uk 01442 409600 www.fitlockers.co.uk Made in Britain janwilliams@leisuremedia.com To book your advert contact the sales team +44 (0)1462 431385 janwilliams@ leisuremedia.com www.regupol.com Fitness Flooring and Acoustic Flooring in Gyms www.regupol.com FUNCTIONAL TRAINING / FLOORING

Keep up the cardio

With the industry experiencing a huge swing towards strength training, researchers recommend continuing to make the case for cardio

Having good levels of cardiorespiratory fitness cuts disease and premature death by 11 to 17 per cent according to new research from the University of South Australia (UniSA).

As strength training skyrockets in popularity and gym owners respond to customer demand by removing cardio equipment to make more room for weights, this study shows it’s important to keep aerobic exercise in a workout routine.

Senior author, UniSA’s Professor Grant Tomkinson, says cardiorespiratory fitness is probably the most important type of fitness for good health, saying: “In this study we found prolonged cardiorespiratory fitness is strongly and consistently associated with all types of premature death and incident disease – spanning heart failure, depression, diabetes, dementia and even cancer.”

For every 1-MET increase in cardiorespiratory fitness – the amount of energy used for quiet sitting – a person can reduce their risk of premature death by 11 to 17 per cent and their risk of heart disease by 18 per cent.

This is the first study to collate all the scientific evidence that looks at the link between cardiorespiratory fitness and health outcomes

The message is quite simple: if you do a lot of ‘huff and puff’ exercise, then your risk of dying early or developing diseases in the future is reduced

among adults. Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine , it comprised 26 systematic reviews with meta-analysis representing more than 20.9 million observations from 199 unique cohort studies.

The study showed that those with low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness are far more likely to die early or develop chronic conditions, such as heart disease, later in life.

“The message is quite simple: if you do a lot of ‘huff and puff’ exercise, then your risk of dying early or developing diseases in the future is reduced. If you avoid exercise, your health may suffer,” says Tomkinson.

“People can make meaningful improvements through additional moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, at least 150 minutes a week. And as they improve their fitness, their risk of premature death and disease will decline.” l

l More: www.hcmmag.com/huff

108 Issue 4 2024 ©Cybertrek 2024
Keeping cardio in the mix is vital for longevity

The most innovative, immersive fitness equipment available, and a new benchmark in premium cardio. Body and machine together in seamless motion, with engaging personalization, advanced biomechanics and meticulous, purposeful design. The Symbio™ product series transcends the workout to deliver the ultimate sensory fitness experience.


©2024 Life Fitness, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Life Fitness is a registered trademark of Life Fitness, LLC and its affiliated companies and subsidiaries.

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